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Suspended dispatcher pleads guilty

The Amherst police dispatcher who collected his paycheck for 17 months while off the job has pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a 16-year-old girl, court officials said Friday.

Raymond H. Henderson, 44, pleaded guilty to a single count of endangering during an appearance before Amherst Town Justice Mark G. Farrell on Thursday. Farrell also dismissed a charge of third-degree sexual abuse and granted Henderson a conditional discharge on one count of public lewdness.

During the hearing, Henderson resigned from his $45,000-a-year job as a civilian police dispatcher. Earlier, he was also suspended from his position as a Snyder volunteer firefighter. Farrell set May 25 for sentencing on the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of one year.

Town officials said Henderson was allowed to draw his town salary while awaiting trial because he was not charged with wrongdoing in connection with his town job.

Henderson's case is unusual because police couldn't fire him for any infractions while working for the town, Police Chief John J. Moslow said. But they also could not allow him to work in police headquarters, where he had access to confidential information.

It was the second time since Satish B. Mohan became supervisor that town officials acknowledged a suspended employee was being paid while not working.

According to Mohan, the town was giving some employees an incentive to delay their disciplinary cases. "Naturally if you pay them for not working, they're not interested in doing anything else," he said.


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