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Saugerties police chief suspended as AG probe finds subordinate officer engaged in repeated sexual misconduct

News 12 confirmed Monday that Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra is now suspended after a state probe found an officer engaged in three separate incidents of sexual misconduct under the official’s watch.

Blaise Gomez

Jul 31, 2023, 9:23 PM

Updated 322 days ago

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News 12 confirmed Monday that Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra is now suspended after a state probe found an officer engaged in three separate incidents of sexual misconduct under the official’s watch.
As News 12 has reported, that investigation by the attorney general’s office found Saugerties Officer Dion Johnson sexually harassed and forcibly touched three women – a civilian and two officers.
Newly appointed interim Chief Bob Barbaria says Sinagra was suspended with pay last week by the town board after the results of the investigation were released in July.
Barbaria is the department’s former chief who previously Sinagra replaced.
The report found that Johnson had three on-duty complaints of sexual harassment and unwanted, forcible touching from the women in 2020 and 2021.
Johnson made headlines when he was first hired in 2020 for being Saugerties’ first Black officer since the police department was formed in 1929.
The state report also found that the officer lied about overtime eligibility when he was employed as an officer in Albany.
Johnson received 10 days' suspension and was put on probation for the sexual misconduct, but the attorney general’s office says there was enough evidence for the officer to be fired.
Saugerties town officials have not responded to News 12's calls for information about what, if any, action has been taken against Johnson.


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