Judge drops restraining order against former police officer

Date Published:  Sat, 01/24/2009

FALMOUTH — Mario Cunha, the former Falmouth police officer who resigned amid assault allegations last year, had the restraining order against him vacated by a judge yesterday.

Falmouth District Court Judge Michael Creedon dropped the restraining order against Cunha, 25, after finding “no present or imminent danger to the plaintiff,” according to court documents.

Cunha resigned in June and had to relinquish all guns, ammunition and his license to carry a firearm after Creedon granted the woman the original restraining order.

Cunha, speaking for the first time publicly about his ordeal, said the judge’s ruling was a weight off his shoulders.

“It felt amazing,” he said. “But I grew up in town, I was friendly with everyone and now I’ve lost a lot of respect.”

Cunha was three days from the end of his probationary period as a police officer in June when his ex-girlfriend came forward with the abuse allegations.

Officers in their one-year probationary period can be fired without cause, and Cunha said he felt forced to resign because he was told he would be fired otherwise.

J. Drew Segadelli, Cunha’s attorney, said the woman’s timing — just days before Cunha became a full-time officer — speaks volumes about the credibility of her accusations.

The woman claimed she dated Cunha from March 2006 until January 2008. She claimed Cunha held her against her will at times and even forced her to have sexual intercourse.

The woman also claimed to have received threatening text messages from Cunha, which she could not produce, and admitted in court last year she had a friend use a cell phone to take a partially nude picture of her that she then sent to Cunha.

Cunha maintained from the outset he never abused the woman. Creedon’s decision yesterday is the second victory for the embattled former officer in the last month.

In December, the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office concluded its investigation

against Cunha and said there were no grounds to press criminal charges.

Cunha said he is ready to become a police officer again. But he questions whether that is possible in Falmouth or anywhere else.

“I can’t believe the way this was handled because the town that hired me to be a cop takes this girl’s word and doesn’t even give me a chance,” he said. “I was treated way worse than I ever treated any criminal.”

Article taken from www.capecodonline.com

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