The nationally-recognized police chief of Gloucester, Massachusetts, has been fired amid an investigation into "disturbing allegations" regarding certain relationships with women, the city announced Monday.
Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said Police Chief Leonard Campanello's termination resulted when it was revealed that he was lying to investigators and tampering with evidence, specifically with his city-issued cell phone.
Calling his actions "unethical and completely unacceptable," Theken said Campanello lied about possible relationships with women while under investigation and about his cell phone, which had been wiped clean before being sent to his attorney.
Campanello, who was honored by President Barack Obama earlier this year for his innovative program in the national fight against opioid addiction, was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 13.
Campanello's attorney, Terrance Kennedy, who previously said the investigation had nothing to do with his client's role as chief, denied the allegations, and called his client's termination "a witch hunt," vowing to fight it.
The city of Gloucester alleges that Campanello tampered with his city-issued cell phone, which he had said was inside his locked office at the police department. Investigators could not find it, and Campanello's attorney informed the city that the cell phone and other items had been sent to his Everett office, according to the city, which adds that the cell phone had been wiped.
When he was questioned by investigators, Campanello allegedly suggested that someone from inside the department removed the phone without his permission.
The city of Gloucester says investigators later discovered that Campanello himself mailed the package containing his cell phone to his attorney from the Everett Post Office.
Gloucester officials say their investigation is ongoing, and that Campanello will have a chance to present evidence at a hearing in the future.
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Meanwhile, John McCarthy continues as acting police chief at the Gloucester Police Department.