I-Team: Patrolman to return to work after inappropriate relationship
NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. —
Eric Rondeau is keeping his job as an officer with the North Smithfield Police Department after he serves out a 90-day unpaid suspension.
The 25-year-old former Marine has been off the job with pay since November, after starting a sexual relationship with a woman who had been locked up in police cell.
The two met in August when Rondeau wrote a ticket to 23-year-old Kathryn Shinton and her then-boyfriend for riding ATVs in a town sand pit.
Later that night, police responded to a domestic call at the couple's apartment. A police report obtained by the I-Team said Shinton was out of control and allegedly drunk.
Glass was broken, and chairs were thrown. Shinton was arrested on a disorderly charge.
The I-Team learned that while Shinton was in the police lock up, Rondeau slipped his personal phone number into her confiscated wallet.
Sources close to the investigation told the I-Team the two began a sexual affair and exchanged about 95 explicit text messages and nude photos. Rondeau is married.
A complaint was lodged against the patrolman for acting inappropriately and crossing a line some thought an officer should never cross.
"So in essence he used the jail cell in the North Smithfield Police Department as a forum to make a sex connection with a prisoner," said Vincent Ragosta, an attorney for the town's police department.
Ragosta represented the police department in the charges against the officer.
The department is now tasked with watching Rondeau's every move at traffic stops and any chance he may encounter a woman.
"It's disappointing in that they believe he can have a second life as a police officer," Ragosta said.
Rondeau was found guilty on eight of 12 administrative charges lodged against him, including conduct unbecoming of a police officer.
North Smithfield Police Chief Steven Reynolds had recommended Rondeau lose his job, however during a Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights hearing, a three-person panel decided he should be suspended.
Calls placed by NBC 10 to Rondeau weren't returned.