Springfield police sergeant fired for sex act while working

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A Springfield police sergeant who served on the force for more than 20 years has been fired by the city for having sex while on the clock.

Springfield Police Sgt. Jerome “Jerry” Montico was fired Oct. 12 after a seven month internal investigation into a claim that he had an affair with another city employee, including a liason while he was on extra-duty.

The other city employee, Police Records Clerk Heather Ellis, has been suspended five days without pay for her role in the incidents, city records show.

According to internal investigation documents obtained by the Springfield News-Sun, Montico and Ellis engaged in sexual activities while Montico was on extra-duty.

“The position of any police officer, particularly a supervisor, is a position of grave responsibility,” Springfield City Manager Jim Bodenmiller said in a statement. “It requires strong bonds of trust within the division, and with the community that we serve. In order to maintain that trust, the men and women of the Springfield Police Division are held to a high standard of integrity and honor in their service to the people of Springfield. Sgt. Montico has violated those standards of conduct and broken those bonds of trust.”

A phone call and messages seeking comment from Montico and Ellis went unreturned this week.

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Montico began working at the police division in 1996 and Ellis began working there in 2015, according to their personnel files.

Bodenmiller’s decision to fire Montico followed the recommendation sent to him by Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf. Graf said the actions of the two hurt the credibility of the department.

“In performing a sexual act while working a division-approved, extra-duty job, in uniform, outside of a marked police cruiser, with a civilian staff member of this division, Sergeant Montico brought great discredit upon himself and exposed this agency, the city and the police community to potential ridicule and embarrassment,” Graf wrote to Bodenmiller. “In the current social climate that police officers face, his misconduct, if exposed to the light of day, would certainly add to the negativity that officers are struggling so earnestly to overcome.”

Graf said both should be credited with cooperating with the investigation, but that does not excuse their actions.

Montico and the Fraternal Order of Police have filed a grievance. In the grievance report, Montico says he was fired unfairly.

“I was terminated for allegations of violations of policy and procedure,” the report says. “Termination is without just cause and progressive discipline.”

Montico wants his job back, the report says. He is requesting: “That I be reinstated and made whole, with full back pay and all benefits with no loss in seniority.”

The Springfield News-Sun also obtained more than 10 letters from community members, Montico’s family and police officers in the division who asked Bodenmiller to save Montico’s job.

“I would like to say that since Sgt. Montico has been assigned to the traffic unit, I have not questioned his ability to lead or perform his duties as an officer/sergeant once,” Springfield Police Officer Wendy Kibler wrote. “I cannot even begin to put into words how much better our unit has become since he has taken over leadership.”

The letters say Montico is a good person and a great police officer who has served the city with pride.

According to the internal investigation records, Springfield police began an investigation into Montico and Ellis after receiving a tip that they were engaging in a sexual relationship. Through text messages found on Ellis’ work computer, according to documents, investigators were able to gather evidence.

“Heather Ellis and Jerry Montico had been having a sexual relationship for some time,” the investigation documents say. “Heather Ellis and Jerry Montico have spent a great deal of time, during work hours texting and sexting each other.”

In at least one text the two apparently discussed a sexual liaison they had while he was working a city-assigned security job at a construction site.

Montico and Ellis were interviewed as part of the internal investigation, according to the documents. Ellis allegedly admitted to the affair and the incident that took place while Montico was on extra-duty.

The investigation documents say Montico also allegedly admitted that Ellis and he participated in oral sex while he was on extra-duty.

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“Jerry Montico admitted that while engaged in this sex act he was unable to perform the duties for which he had been contracted and received payment,” according to the documents.

The investigation documents also say that in 2007, Montico was suspended from work without pay for engaging in a pattern of conduct that involved sex acts with prostitutes over a period of years.

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