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Porn-watching cop fights for pension after being fired in Wheaton, Illinois

City of Wheaton, Illinois: DuPage County Courthouse
Wikipedia

Thomas Sommerfield - a former Wheaton, Illinois, police officer who was fired for watching pornography repeatedly in his police vehicle – is fighting for his disability pension pay, according to the Chicago Tribune on Monday. Sommerfield was fired from the Wheaton Police Department, located some 30 miles northwest of Chicago, on January 22. A citizen caught the officer engaging in the inappropriate on-duty behavior.

The officer was let go from his job after a motorist informed city officials last September that Sommerfield was watching pornography on his in-vehicle computer. The person saw Sommerfield in action while stopped at Front and Main streets behind Sommerfield’s city vehicle. After the citizen e-mailed the mayor of Wheaton, an investigation began. Based on that investigation, Sommerfield was fired. A forensics analysis of Sommerfield’s computer showed that he had accessed pornographic websites from May to October last year.

Twenty-five photos showing nudity or graphic sexual activity as well as fragments of four inappropriate videos which had been deleted from the computer were found. Additionally, two inappropriate-for-work websites were visited more than a hundred times. A third website was visited more than 60 times. Sommerfield appears to have visited the infamous Craigslist website on his work computer as well. The officer admitted that he visited escort services online but claims he never acted on those visits.

Of dire concern is that the officer falsified department records via his computer. He admitted that he had made the falsifications to show that he was on duties when he was not. In actuality, he was visiting inappropriate websites on the computer.

The 23-year veteran of the police force found his employment terminated following an internal investigation which proved that he had been watching pornography inside his police vehicle on a police department’s computer. The police patrol officer asserts that he has a psychological disability, diagnosed by a doctor who claims his condition could have caused these behaviors. Allegedly, out-of-balance medications could have contributed to Sommerfield’s inappropriate behaviors.

What the disability diagnosis means in terms of Sommerfield’s pension is that non-duty disability pensions pays 50 percent of an officer’s salary. Line-of-duty disability pension benefits pay 65 percent of an officer’s salary. The officer’s last annual salary was $87,339 from his Wheaton Police Department job. At this time, the officer’s disability pension claim case is before the Wheaton Police Pension Fund Board. His case was heard on July 1 and will be heard again on a date not yet determined. Settlement of the claim could take up to nine months, according to True New USA.