Police chief offers resignation after assault accusations
WEARE, N.H. — Less than a year after taking over a troubled police department, the chief in Weare has offered to resign after accusations that he assaulted his personal assistant, with whom he had an affair and who got a restraining order against him.
John Velleca has been on leave since the accusations were made public last month. Late Thursday, state Attorney General Joseph Foster said there is not enough evidence to bring a criminal charge against Velleca, who was accused of assaulting administrative assistant Jennifer Posteraro. Foster noted inconsistencies in Posteraro’s stories but also said Velleca’s credibility was tainted because his story changed.
The Concord Monitor reported that Velleca submitted a resignation letter to the town Thursday afternoon. Selectboard chairman Tom Clow told the paper the board will meet Monday and decide whether to accept it. Clow praised the changes Velleca made in the department but said resignation ‘‘seems like something that is probably best for John’s family and for the town in the long run.’’
Velleca acknowledged going to Posteraro’s house on Sept. 11 to retrieve her work-issued cellphone. Before the restraining order was requested, he took the phone to an Apple store to have its factory default settings restored, effectively wiping all the data off of it.
He could have faced charges of simple assault and falsifying evidence but Foster’s office found that neither could be proven. Foster noted that Velleca wiped the phone clean before knowing there was an investigation.
Velleca, who earned a reputation for turning around the New Haven Police Department’s narcotics unit, was hired in November to clean up a department reeling after a botched drug sting when police shot and killed a suspect. The department had also been stung by a lack of citizen confidence and lawsuits alleging excessive force.
Posteraro’s lawyer, Benjamin King, told the Monitor he was disappointed by the attorney general’s emphasis on ‘‘slight inconsistencies’’ in Posteraro’s accounts while giving relatively little attention to Velleca’s shifting stories.