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Published: Thursday, 4/10/2003

Fostoria police sergeant charged again

FOSTORIA - For the second time in two months, Fostoria police Sgt. Nick Portentoso has been charged after an incident involving his estranged wife.

Sergeant Portentoso was arrested by a Seneca County sheriff's deputy Tuesday and charged with violating a civil protection order that prohibits him from having contact with Kathleen Portentoso. The charge, a first-degree misdemeanor, has a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

In a hearing before Judge John Hadacek of Fostoria Municipal Court, Sergeant Portentoso pleaded not guilty to violating the protection order. After posting $10,000 bond, he was released from the Seneca County jail subject to a series of conditions.

Under the bond, he must have no contact of any kind with Mrs. Portentoso, cannot come within 1,000 feet of her home on Loudon Township Road 132, and must stay off that road entirely.

The court also ordered Sergeant Portentoso to stay at a residence on Ivanhill Road in Toledo, with a curfew between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., and banned him from possessing alcohol or weapons.

In addition, he was ordered to have no contact with Seneca County sheriff's Deputy Kimberley Hassinger, who filed the charge against him.

Sergeant Portentoso has been on paid leave from his job since Feb. 7, when he was arrested and charged with menacing Mrs. Portentoso. At the time, she told Seneca County sheriff's deputies that her husband tried to damage her phone and a door of her home.

In May, 2002, Sergeant Portentoso was ordered to stay away from his estranged wife, who claimed he had been harassing her.

Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Kelbley issued a protection order to Mrs. Portentoso, who said her husband had stalked her and threatened to kill her if she filed for divorce.

Ralph Wise, Fostoria's safety service director, said the city completed an internal investigation of Sergeant Portentoso's conduct on Tuesday, the same day he was arrested.

Mr. Wise said the city will conduct a predisciplinary hearing next week for the sergeant. Police Chief Dennis Day will recommend possible discipline, subject to approval from Mr. Wise.

The sergeant's latest charges will not be part of the city hearing, Mr. Wise said.

“I know the wheels of justice turn slowly, and people may want a more swift outcome of this particular case, but the sergeant is entitled to due process,” he said. “It's a very complex case, and there's more to it than what the average person might realize.”

In a statement, Mayor John Davoli said the city “does not have the luxury of making a quick call on this matter.”

Sergeant Portentoso's arrest this week was the latest in a series of problems for the Fostoria Police Department.

Police Chief Dennis Day was suspended for 15 days in November for failing to reduce overtime costs.

The chief also was suspended in September, 2001, on allegations of stalking and harassing his estranged wife.

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