Gloucester police chief fired after internal investigation

Gloucester’s police chief was fired Monday after an internal investigation.

Police Chief Leonard Campanello was originally placed on administrative leave at the beginning on September amid an internal investigation. Campanello was fired for allegedly destroying cell phone evidence.

Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said Campanello was having relationships with multiple women, some of whom claim they feared for their safety. Theken said Campanello lied about the extent of his communication with the women and then mailed his cellphone to his lawyer, claiming it had been stolen. Campanello also allegedly deleted 634 text messages from the phone that he sent to one woman in one day.

“Chief Campanello’s actions are unethical and unacceptable,” said Theken. She declined to share more details on the allegations made against Campanello.

Campanello was Gloucester’s police chief for four years. Before that, he spent decades working for the police department in Saugus. He was recently honored at the White House for his work in fighting the opioid addiction crisis in Massachusetts.

Campanello’s lawyer released a statement Monday afternoon, calling the investigation a “witch hunt.” Through his attorney, Campanello vowed to fight the termination. An evidence hearing will be held in the next 30 days, where Campanello can defend himself.

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