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Friday, May 16, 2008

Ex-Ramapo cop indicted on federal charges

The Journal News by Steve Lieberman - May 14, 2008

A recently fired Ramapo police officer was indicted yesterday on federal domestic violence-related charges. James Curley, 43, who spent nearly 18 years getting paid tax free while on disability, was arrested Monday by the FBI and Ramapo police on a federal warrant. He was waiting outside Suffern Village Court for an appearance on a local charge when he was arrested. Curley was arraigned yesterday on the three-count indictment by Magistrate Judge George Yantis in U.S. District Court in White Plains. Curley pleaded not guilty after the indictment was unsealed, said John Edwards, a Rockland lawyer who watched the proceedings. He represents Curley on domestic-related charges in Airmont and Suffern. Yantis ordered Curley held in federal custody until a bail hearing Friday, Edwards said.

The indictment resulted partially from charges filed against Curley in New Jersey. The federal charges accuse Curley of crossing state lines from New York into New Jersey to commit crimes. The indictment charges Curley with two counts of crossing state lines with the intent to either kill, injure or harass another person and stalk that person and place that person under surveillance. Curley is charged in Emerson, N.J., with stalking and violating an order of protection to stay clear of his estranged wife. He is accused of placing a computerized global positioning system on the victim's car for surveillance - an accusation he also faced in Emerson. All of this is alleged to have happened between August and October 2006.

The indictment also charges Curley with engaging in conduct on Oct. 9, 2006, that violated an order of protection for him to stay away from his wife, who worked in New Jersey for a doctor. Curley is charged in New Milford, N.J., with threatening a local doctor and slashing the tires on the doctor's car, police said. As a result of warrants issued for his arrest after failing to show up in court on those charges, Curley was arrested in January in Ramsey, N.J. As a result of that arrest, Curley was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, receiving stolen property and hindering apprehension or prosecution. Michael Curley said yesterday that his brother was falsely accused of molestation and other charges - some of which were never brought to court. "My brother's fighting for his life since this whole nightmare started by his wife," Michael Curley said. "The Ramapo police are using whatever means possible to bring him down."

Ramapo police and officials have denied those accusations. The Ramapo Town Board fired Curley in April for violating departmental rules. Curley had been collecting a tax-free paycheck and receiving health benefits since 1990. Curley stopped working as a police officer in 1990. He hurt his ankle when he fell 8 inches off a plank being used as a temporary walkway from the parking lot to the police station. He said he later developed circulatory problems from the injury. Curley worked briefly in 1993 and 1994, then went back on disability leave. On Monday, Curley filed a court action challenging his dismissal as improper.

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