It seems lots of
policemen believe they are the "hero"
when they falsely arrest fathers based
on illegal evidence provided by vindictive
ex-wives with obvious motives. A few
successful $20 million suits like
this are likely to stop this problem
fast as sexual bias rules the day
and constitutional rights are ignored.
By Rick Holland /
Daily News Staff
Friday, July 29, 2005
BELLINGHAM -- He was cleared of child
pornography charges more than one
year ago, but former resident James
P. Ciesluk still has an ax to grind
with the Bellingham Police Department.
Ciesluk has filed a federal lawsuit
against the Bellingham Police, alleging
he was falsely arrested and imprisoned
for more than three months in January
2002. Ciesluk's lawsuit also alleges
that police illegally searched and
seized property -- a computer and
computer disks -- from his video arcade
business, The Game Vault.
The civil suit, which was filed in
December, does not specify a dollar
amount being sought by Ciesluk, and
his Boston-based attorney, Frances
Robinson, will be out of her office
for the next two weeks, according
to a receptionist.
Ciesluk is believed to be living in
the Framingham area but could not
be reached for comment.
The computer and disks were confiscated
without a search warrant, after Ciesluk's
estranged wife, Donna, gave Bellingham
Police a single computer disk that
she said belonged to Ciesluk and allegedly
contained a pornographic image of
a young girl.
At the time, Ciesluk's defense lawyer,
Edward Ryan Jr., argued that Bellingham
Police seized the computer and disks
illegally, because they did not have
a search warrant. Bellingham Police
Lt. Kevin Ranieri responded that police
had simply confiscated the computer
and disks to keep any files from being
deleted while they obtained a warrant.
"Nothing was looked at until
a search warrant was secured,"
Ranieri said at the time.
Ciesluk's case was set to go to trial
in April 2003, but after additional
investigation, the child pornography
charges and another involving violation
of a restraining order were dropped
in June 2004.
The Board of Selectmen recently met
in closed session to discuss Ciesluk's
lawsuit, and the insurance company
covering the town has hired special
defense counsel to represent Bellingham.
"We're basically in the discovery
stage of the (legal) process,"
said Town Administrator Denis Fraine.
Police Chief Gerard Daigle is named
in Ciesluk's lawsuit, along with officers
Edward Guzowski, Brian Kutcher, Peter
Lemon, John Melanson and Richard Perry.
"This kind of stuff happens from
time to time," said Daigle. "We
get sued...but I would do what we
did again in a heartbeat and I stand
behind the actions of our officers.
"It would be completely different
if our guys were beating people up
and we were getting sued for police
Daigle said he and other members of
the Police Department have given depositions
as a result of Ciesluk's lawsuit,
but the chief declined to comment
further on the case because it is
The Bellingham Police Department was
also the target of a federal lawsuit
in connection with an instance of
false arrest in November 2003. In
that case, Modesto Montero was led
away from his family of five children
in handcuffs the night before Thanksgiving.
Bellingham cops hauled off Modesto,
telling him he was wanted by police
in Pennsylvania. He then spent nearly
48 hours in a holding cell, before
it was determined that the warrant
had been issued for someone named
Modesto Montero later filed a $20
million federal lawsuit against the
town and Patrol Officer Kenneth Jones.
Montero's case is also still in the
discovery phase, according to Fraine.
A comprehensive insurance policy is
covering the town for both the Montero
and Ciesluk lawsuits, so Fraine said
the maximum amount the town could
pay would be a $5,000 deductible for
each case. The town pays about $300,000
annually for its insurance policy,
which provides property, casualty
and liability coverage.
"We've been able to obtain good
(insurance) coverage at a good rate
because of our (claims) history,"