Convicted felon appointed to West Warwick pension board refuses to resign

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WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A convicted felon recently appointed to the pension committee in West Warwick addressed Town Council Tuesday night saying he refuses to resign from his post.

Jerry Leite, who’s also an appointed member of the Board of Assessment and Review, was placed on the pension committee by a 4-1 vote during the council’s Feb. 5 meeting.

Leite was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $1,152 in restitution after pleading no contest to a 2001 felony embezzlement charge out of East Providence.

Court records show he admitted to taking more than $2,100 in sports items that had been donated for the 8th Annual Steven M. Shaw Memorial Golf Tournament. Shaw was a Providence police officer who was shot and killed while on duty in 1994.

Some Town Council members told Target 12 last week they did not know about Leite’s criminal record when they voted to appoint him.

Leite defends his appointment, citing the Rhode Island Constitution which states a convicted felon can attain an office “three years after the date of completion” of their sentence.

The Town Council took no action Tuesday night and instead will consider removing Leite from the pension board at their meeting next week.

It’s unclear if he was asked to resign from both of his posts.

Walt Buteau contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Providence

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