GPD Cop Arrested: Why Wasn’t Montesanto Charged With A Felony?

On July 31 2019, the Geneva community was shaken by the news that a ten-year veteran cop, Jack Montesanto, had been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor after choking a female resident who was in custody. But why wasn’t Montesanto charged with a felony?

Geneva Patrol Officer Jack Montesanto

On Wednesday, July 31 2019, a joint press conference between the Geneva Police Department, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and the Ontario County District Attorney’s office was held at the Public Safety Building in Geneva at 3:00pm. Geneva Police Chief Mike Passalacqua announced that veteran Geneva officer Jack Montesanto, who had been demoted from the rank of Sergeant to Patrol Officer in 2018, had been arrested and charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, a class A misdemeanor, for choking a woman who was in custody in the booking area at the police station. The victim, whose identity is being withheld, had been brought in for loud music (noise ordinance) and disorderly conduct, both violations.

Passalacqua stated that the victim did not seek medical assistance, and was “OK.” He also stated that the criminal investigation into Montesanto was being conducted by the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.

Now, after new information contained in an interview with Passalacqua was published in the Finger Lakes Times on Friday August 2, the community has legitimate concerns and questions about why Montesanto wasn’t charged with a felony, which would have quite possibly ended his career in law enforcement.

Misdemeanor Vs. Felony – The Difference Is Clear

Montesanto was charged with misdemeanor obstruction of breathing or blood circulation.

Here is the legal definition of that particular charge:

Section 121.11
Criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation
Penal (PEN)

 

A person is guilty of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation when, with intent to impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person, he or she:

 

a. applies pressure on the throat or neck of such person; or

b. blocks the nose or mouth of such person.

 

Criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation is a class A misdemeanor.

Anyone who chokes another person can be charged with the above crime.

However, anyone who chokes another person AND causes injury of loss of consciousness would be charged with the same basic crime, but at the level of a felony.

Here is the legal definition of that particular charge:

Section 121.12
Strangulation in the second degree
Penal (PEN)

 

A person is guilty of strangulation in the second degree when he or she commits the crime of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, as defined in section 121.11 of this article, and thereby causes stupor, loss of consciousness for any period of time, or any other physical injury or impairment.

 

Strangulation in the second degree is a class D felony.

Geneva Police Chief Mike Passalacqua

Because Passalacqua initially stated that the victim didn’t seek medical assistance and was “OK,” and because Passalacqua had asked the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office to investigate so that the GPD couldn’t be accused of mishandling the case, there was no obvious reason to question the misdemeanor charge faced by Montesanto.

Until August 2nd.

Sheriff’s Complaint: Victim “Lost Consciousness”

In a Finger Lakes Times article on August 2nd titled “Geneva Police chief talks about officer’s arrest”, the following information about the Montesanto investigation was revealed:

“According to the criminal complaint against Montesanto, which was produced by the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, Montesanto is accused of choking the woman with his right hand, causing her to lose consciousness temporarily. He faces a charge of criminal obstruction of breathing, a misdemeanor.”

And there it is.

Jack Montesanto choked a woman out cold, and that is a felony.

And if Montesanto were to be convicted of a felony, it will be much harder for him to find a another job in law enforcement.

During Montesanto’s arraignment, several reporters in the room were speaking with each other, saying that the whole process surrounding Montesanto’s arrest was suspicious or “fishy.”

Now, it’s apparent why those reporters had such a reaction.

The Sheriff’s Office was put in charge of the investigation so that the GPD wouldn’t be accused of mishandling a case involving one of their own officers.

And the Sheriff’s Office apparently handed Montesanto a gift.

More To The Story Coming Very Soon

In the coming days, Geneva Believer will be publishing more information about the Montesanto case…information that you will not find anywhere else.

In the meantime, please contact the following people and ask them why Montesanto is being let off easy and not facing a felony charge for strangling a woman unconscious at the police station.

And tell them that it’s time for a police accountability board with citizen oversight in Geneva.

Contact the Ontario County District Attorney

Contact City Council

Contact Geneva Police Chief Mike Passalacqua

Contact City Manager Sage Gerling

Contact the Ontario County Sheriff

Contact the Community Compact Committee

Believe!

 

 

2 Comments on “GPD Cop Arrested: Why Wasn’t Montesanto Charged With A Felony?”

  1. Having Ontario County Sheriff department investigate the Geneva Police department is a conflict of interest. All the deputies and police officers know each other through their jobs and probably several are friends outside of work! The investigation needs to be done by another counties Sheriff department. I have no doubt that if not for camera’s proving the incident, the whole thing would have never come to light. Does this officer have a history? Why was he demoted?

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