Rural Police Officer Reaches Plea Deal In Misconduct, Computer Tampering Case
A rural McLean County police officer pleaded "no contest" on Monday to official misconduct and computer tampering in a plea deal that allowed him to maintain his innocence to the accusations.
Kelly Gordon, 54, was accused of improperly accessing the computerized reporting system used by McLean County law enforcement agencies in order to check on reports filed in another pending investigation against him.
The agreement reached between the state and Gordon is known as an Alford plea -- an agreement in which the defendant maintains his innocence, but acknowledges that evidence exists to support a guilty plea.
Gordon, who is on leave from the Colfax Police Department, also was convicted of tampering with the computer system at the Community Cancer Center in Normal where he worked in the information technology department. The Alford plea included the tempering charge.
Gordon’s refusal to admit to the criminal conduct spelled out in the charges had no effect on the sentence he received for the felony charges. He must serve 30 months probation, and the two felony convictions disqualify Gordon from working in law enforcement.
The plea came as jury selection was about to begin in Gordon’s trial on official misconduct charges. Gordon was in court with defense lawyer Stephanie Wong.
In a statement of facts to support the plea, First Assistant State's Attorney Brad Rigdon explained that Gordon was fired from his job at the cancer center on June 21, 2019. An oversight by the center allowed Gordon to have remote access to a portion of the agency's system, said Rigdon.
According to Wong, Gordon’s dismissal from his job involved a situation with his supervisor and was unrelated to unauthorized computer access.
Ten days after his termination, Gordon began to access the system, said the prosecutor. The access included disabling a backup system and changes to the password for the center’s video surveillance system, said Rigdon.
Gordon, who also worked part time as a police officer for the Chenoa and Colfax departments, began looking up police reports in early September 2019, said Rigdon. The reports were viewed during Gordon’s shifts at Chenoa, said Rigdon.
In her comments to Associate Judge William Workman, Wong argued that Gordon “did not circumvent the system” by looking at the police reports. The failure by Normal Police to lock down access to reports to protect the confidentiality of the ongoing investigations gave Gordon and all authorized users access to the material, said the defense lawyer.
The computer access to the reports was locked down by NPD on Sept. 16, 2019, according to Wong.
Rigdon countered that Gordon lacked legal justification to be viewing the reports about his alleged criminal conduct.
Alford pleas are allowed in Illinois and several other state, but seldom used in McLean County. In some cases, the plea is used to limit future civil liability for a defendant, a motive that did not exist in Gordon’s case, according to Wong.
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