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Officer accused of DUI, ‘sexting’ cuts deal to end termination case

Target 12

EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) —  An East Greenwich police officer arrested for drunken driving and accused of “sexting” a woman he arrested for DUI about two months later, has reached a confidential agreement that ended the process for the town to potentially terminate him.

East Greenwich Assistant Town Solicitor Michael Ursillo said state law does not allow the release of the deal with Officer Scott Cole, who returned to duty late last month.

The decision by Cole and the town quashed the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) case prompted by the town last year.

“The town is satisfied that the town’s interests are protected,” Ursillo said. “The town is protected from anything that might go wrong in the future.”

Ursillo would not elaborate, and neither Cole nor his attorney Gary Gentile has responded to requests for comment.

Cole was suspended with pay after a 27-year-old woman claimed he sent her a lewd picture and, according to her attorney, solicited oral sex from her within hours of arresting her for drunken driving in July.

“I was flabbergasted,” she wrote in the complaint, filed with the police department last August. “He seemed to have all the control and I didn’t want to upset him.”

Cole, 30, had been arrested himself for DUI last April by West Warwick police, about two months before the purported sexting incident.

According to the complaint obtained by Target 12 – which was authenticated by the woman’s attorney – Cole offered an opinion about the current DUI statute in the string of texts with the woman.

“DUIs are not as bad as they used to be,” Cole texted. “You can get a hardship license now for work.”

Cole is in the process of serving an alternative sentence from the R.I. Veterans Treatment Court that involves a number of requirements, including random drug and alcohol screenings.

The misdemeanor could be dismissed as early as next month if Cole follows the requirements.

Michael Egan, the attorney for the woman who filed the complaint, told Target 12 he believed the town prosecuted her case differently in an attempt to force Cole to take the stand against his client.

Egan claimed the town wanted him to question Cole about the incident to bolster the LEOBOR case.

But after a discussion between the parties in the judge’s chambers during a hearing in December, the charges against the woman were filed for a year as part of a plea agreement (which means the charge will go away in one year if the defendant remains out of trouble). Cole never took the stand.

Town Manager Joe Duarte has not yet responded to requests from Target 12 for the amount of salary and comp time benefits Cole received while he was on leave.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.

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