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Local News

February 22, 2013

Ex-Otsego worker charged with eavesdropping

COOPERSTOWN — A former Otsego County social worker has been charged with eavesdropping for allegedly tape-recording coworkers in the county office building in Cooperstown nearly three years ago, police said Thursday.

Jonathan G. Allen, 34, of 8 Main St., Schenevus, surrendered himself Thursday morning to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office and was issued an appearance ticket returnable in Cooperstown Village Court next month.

Contacted by The Daily Star, Allen would only say that county government has “a significant problem with workplace bullying,” and that he was a target of that bullying when he worked for the county. He no longer works for the county Social Services Department, he said.

Allen said he plans to fight the criminal charge and will retain an attorney.

Police said the arrest grew out of formal complaint made to the Sheriff’s Department’s Investigations Division and the District Attorney’s Office last October.

A call to Eve Bouboulis, the department’s acting commissioner, was referred to the agency’s attorney, Steve Ratner, who said he would not comment on personnel matters.

According to the state Penal Law, “a person is guilty of eavesdropping when he unlawfully engages in wiretapping, mechanical overhearing of a conversation or intercepting or accessing of an electronic communication.”

New York law allows one party to a conversation to secretly record the conversation even when other parties to it are unaware that it is being recorded.

A person convicted of eavesdropping could be sentenced to a maximum punishment of four years in prison.

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