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Friday

August 2014

29

Pergande will not drop federal lawsuit

Village of Butler — Former Village Police Lt. Brian Pergande says he will not drop a federal lawsuit that he and fellow officer Chad Rahn have filed against the village and Waukesha County as part of a plea bargaining deal he has struck with Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel.

"That is not part of the deal," Pergande told the Sussex Sun while denying reports that he was dropping the lawsuit in exchange for pleading guilty to lesser charges than the felony official misconduct charge now pending against him.

Pergande confirmed his attorney and Schimel have apparently reached a plea bargaining arrangement but, like Schimel, he would not discuss the details of the agreement before his scheduled appearance in Waukesha County Circuit Court on Friday, July 18.

Pergande denied any improper conduct but said he accepted the deal because Schimel "has all of the money and time" needed to pursue a conviction on the misconduct allegations stemming from a 2009 incident when Pergande is accused to taking inappropriate photos of a woman he had improperly detained at the village police station.

The woman was fully clothed, according to Pergande and the criminal complaint.

Pergande told investigators that he believed the photos had been electronically cropped and edited to put an emphasis on the woman's breast that was not intended when he took the photos. The photos were found in retired Chief Michael Cosgrove's computer during an investigation by the Waukesha County Sheriff's office investigation of Cosgrove and the department. Cosgrove retired in the midst of the investigation.

Pergande acknowledged that by agreeing to resign from the village police department and accepting the District Attorney's plea agreement he was protecting his retirement pension and eliminating the possibility of serving time in jail, paying a fine and becoming a convicted felon, if found guilty of the charges.

Schimel told the Sussex Sun on Tuesday that Pergande's resignation from the police department was essential to the plea agreement.

In the federal lawsuit, Pergande and Rahn contend they were harassed and discriminated against the village officials and the Waukesha County Sheriff's office during the investigation, which was triggered by Pergande and Rahn's complaints to village officials about Cosgrove's conduct.

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