- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

HILLSBORO, N.H. (AP) - There’s no evidence to suggest the chief of the troubled Weare Police Department assaulted a female underling with whom he had an affair and who got a restraining order against him, the state attorney general said Thursday evening.

John Velleca has been on leave since the accusations were made public last month. His personal assistant, Jennifer Posteraro, told investigators she had a brief affair with the married police chief and that he became angry after she told his wife about it.

At first, she said he came to her Hillsboro home uninvited on Sept. 11, grabbed her cellphone and pushed her down as she was talking to his wife.

In his report, Attorney General Joseph Foster said the credibility of both Posteraro and Velleca is tainted but there is not enough evidence to bring a criminal case against the chief.

Neither Posteraro nor Velleca have a listed phone number.

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, Connecticut, police department’s narcotics unit, was hired in November to clean up a department reeling from 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.

In her sworn statement when she sought the protective order, Posteraro said Velleca “physically assaulted me, came to my home uninvited, and otherwise threatened me.” In an interview with the attorney general’s investigators, though, she said that when he came to her house to take back the cellphone, he “shoved into her” as she tried to get her phone back and she fell to the ground. She said it “wasn’t like … he threw me to the ground,” and that she didn’t think Velleca intentionally pushed her.

Velleca told investigators Posteraro appeared intoxicated and slipped on wet grass when he went to retrieve the phone. He denied assaulting her.

At first, Velleca denied having an affair with Posteraro but later told the AG’s investigators about it. He told investigators that Posteraro had come to him a few days before Sept. 11 and told him she thought he was “setting her up” to be fired.

Velleca provided investigators with voicemails and emails from Posteraro, including one in which Posteraro told Velleca that “you need to go … leave New Hampshire.” In another, she told him, “we both know that I hold all the cards here.”

“Based upon the facts and circumstances revealed during the investigation, there is insufficient evidence to support a charge of simple assault, primarily due to concerns surrounding Posteraro’s credibility,” Foster wrote in the report.

Of Velleca, the attorney general said: “Given the inconsistencies in Velleca’s responses to this office during this investigation in comparison to the statements of other witnesses, and his admitted denial of the affair to law enforcement officers, this office has significant concerns regarding Velleca’s credibility.”

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