A Plainfield Police Officer has admitted to unlawfully accessing and sharing motor vehicle registration information with a friend, the co-owner of a local tow company, to enable that company to seize title to an abandoned vehicle, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced today.
Christopher Donovan, 37, pled guilty to third-degree Computer Data Disclosure before State Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield. Donovan also immediately forfeited his position as a Plainfield Police Officer and is barred from holding future public office in the State of New Jersey.
A three month-long investigation into Donovan’ s actions was jointly conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit and the Plainfield Police Professional Standards Unit, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jerry Lenihan, who is prosecuting the case. The investigation revealed that on January 15, 2015, the co-owner of CES Towing, Robert Cubala, a company with a City of Plainfield tow contract, asked Officer Donovan to identify the owner of the vehicle that the company was attempting to seize. Officer Donovan then accessed and shared confidential law enforcement data to facilitate CES in their ability to seek title for the abandoned vehicle.
Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for April 21, 2017, at which time Donovan is expected to receive non-custodial probation term between three and five years.