WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Confidential police files obtained only by News 8 reveal a shocking case of police misconduct.
The records show veteran West Haven police Ofc. Jonathan Healey, who is married, allowed a sex act to be performed on him during a 2017 prostitution sting at a massage parlor in Branford.
Healey, who was assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force at the time, was sent to assist Branford because it was less likely he would be recognized as an officer. Instead, his actions botched the investigation, according to court documents; and likely crossed the line of what’s legally allowed, civil rights attorney Bill Palmieri opined.
“The disturbing aspect of it is the lack of judgment, and when a police officer lacks judgment that’s where really tragic circumstances and consequences happen,” said Palmieri.
Healey later claimed in an interview with Internal Affairs that he had not received clear instructions as to whether he should follow through with the sex act or simply establish if it was an option.
“It’s really not credible and not believable,” Palmieri suggested.
Civil rights lawyer John Williams took a different approach. He said the sting never should’ve happened. “The very idea of diverting precious, limited police resources to this kind of foolishness is outrageous and a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Williams told us.
Top brass at West Haven P.D. launched their own internal investigation and found Healey engaged in “conduct unbecoming an employee.” He was suspended 10 days, reassigned from the DEA Task Force back to patrol and placed on probation for one year.
Deputy Chief Joseph Perno defended Healey in a statement released Wednesday. It reads, “Officer Healey has been an officer with this department for over 10 years with an unblemished record. The discipline you’re referring to was procedural only. Any further comments from our Agency regarding this incident would jeopardize future investigations into similar illegal businesses of this nature. The Police Department is focused on crime prevention in West Haven and has no further comment on this issue.”
News 8 also reached out to Mayor Nancy Rossi who released the following comment: “First off, I believe in the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Obviously, these are serious allegations and it’s very hard to comment on this matter without knowing all the details.”
Attorney Williams, known for his aggressive stance against police misconduct, said he doesn’t fault Healey in this case. “I do fault the supervisors who think it’s a good way to use their manpower to send them into massage parlors to essentially entice people to do something that should be legal anyway,” Williams said.
The New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office ultimately dropped the prostitution case against the massage parlor, which remains in business to this day. Healey is still a West Haven police officer.