Former police officer sentenced

Editor’s note: Due to a production error, this story was left out of the Jan. 8 paper.

A former Bloomville police officer found guilty of theft in office was sentenced to six months in prison Jan. 7.

William R. Laugherty, 28, also was ordered by Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Kelbley to pay $1,029.80 in restitution. Laugherty was convicted in November of two counts of theft in office, a fifth-degree felony, for stealing copper and other recyclable materials from Bloomville’s garage. Video surveillance had recorded him stealing the items between June and November 2011. That November, he was discharged from the police force.

Prior to the announcement of his sentence, Laugherty apologized for his actions and asked the judge to impose a community control sentence.

“I just want to be able to work and be home with my little girls,” he said. “I want to be able to pay this and make it right.”

Laugherty’s attorney, Randy Hoffman, also asked Kelbley to hand down community control as a punishment. Hoffman said a prison sentence would not be appropriate for Laugherty’s first time, non-violent felony conviction.

“Bill has expressed his desire to set things right and see things right,” Hoffman said.

“This is not a person who is a recidivist,” he later said.

Laugherty’s wife and mother also spoke Jan. 7 and asked for a community control sentence.

At the hearing, Seneca County Prosecutor Derek DeVine asked Kelbley to impose an eight-month prison sentence. He suggested Laugherty be sentenced for only one count of theft in office since the convictions were allied offenses.

DeVine said Laugherty broke the community’s trust by stealing, and also said others need to be deterred from committing the same type of offenses.

“Without honest people in those cruisers and in those uniforms, the entire system is subject to criticism and ridicule,” he said.

Laugherty, who plans to appeal, also was ordered Jan. 7 to pay court costs and was permanently disqualified from holding public office.