Sunday, June 24, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg officer resigns in wake of inappropriate relationship

ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer who had a romantic affair with a woman whose boyfriend he helped arrest resigned Thursday rather than face discipline from an administrative board.

Officer John Klipp was one of three St. Petersburg officers who faced discipline for various violations of police policy.

A chain of command board chaired by police Chief Chuck Harmon also suspended an officer who had what was described as an inappropriate but "nonsexual" relationship with a 17-year-old girl in the Police Explorer program and an officer who failed to show up for a work-related court hearing.

Klipp, according to a board memo, pursued a relationship with Tracy DiMasi in July 2012, after he investigated a domestic battery case involving DiMasi and her boyfriend, Joseph Ciannilli.

Ciannilli's attorney, Rohom Khonsari, filed a complaint against Klipp in December. He gave internal affairs investigators copies of numerous text messages and photos that Klipp and DiMasi had exchanged in the months after Ciannilli's arrest, according to the memo.

During the original domestic battery investigation, Klipp gave his number to DiMasi, police said. In their subsequent exchanges, Klipp addressed DiMasi with affectionate names and made regular remarks about her appearance, the memo stated. He also sent her inappropriate pictures of himself.

On July 21, Klipp and DiMasi met at Lake Maggiore Park in order for him to return Cianilli's keys, the memo stated. While they talked, Klipp gave DiMasi what she later described as a "French kiss" that lasted 15 to 20 seconds.

Klipp resigned before the board convened Thursday. Had he not resigned, he would have been fired, police said.

The board also issued an 80-hour work suspension to Officer Kenneth Pienik, who had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

Pienik served as a leader in the Police Department's Explorer program, which helps educate teens about careers in law enforcement. From November to January, he got to know the girl, who was a member of the program.

The relationship escalated to the point that Pienik began contacting the girl outside the scope of the Explorer program, sending her messages through Facebook and talking to her without her parents' knowledge, according to a board memo.

In addition to the work suspension, Pienik was removed from his post in the Explorer program, police said.

The board issued a 40-hour suspension to Officer Brian Gainer, who failed to attend a March deposition related to a battery case, police said. Gainer, who has previous violations of a similar nature, was subject to harsher discipline due to being labeled a "chronic offender" of the police code of conduct.

Times staff writer Lisa Gartner contributed to this report.

Comments
Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

A Tampa man is dead and his 3-year-old son is in serious condition after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as they went on a family bike ride Sunday afternoon.A male suspect is in custody and being interviewed by police but his name has not yet be...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURGSuspect dead, 2 injured in home invasion, shootingThree people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the peop...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-year-old driver died in a three-car crash on Moon Lake Road on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.Jillian Faith Hitt, 19 and of New Port Richey, was driving north on the road in a 2008 Hyundai Accent, weari...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Police: St. Petersburg driver falls asleep at wheel after drinking, kills motorcyclist

Police: St. Petersburg driver falls asleep at wheel after drinking, kills motorcyclist

ST. PETERSBURG — A 22-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel after drinking and ran a red light, hitting and killing a motorcyclist Saturday night, police said.Just before midnight, Michael P. Majchrowski, 48, was riding a 2016 BMW motorcycle eastb...
Published: 06/24/18
Authorities find

Authorities find "inmate" who walked away from Bilirakis event

The 23-year-old man who authorities said walked away from a New Port Richey political event while under supervision of a treatment center on Saturday has been located.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office described Nicholas Moore, 23, as both an "inmate"...
Published: 06/23/18
FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

A Clearwater man who authorities said sideswiped a car while driving more than 100 miles per hour the wrong way on U.S. 41 was arrested Friday. Wendel Jamel James, 35, is charged with DUI with property damage, reckless driving and leaving the scene ...
Published: 06/23/18
Tampa boy, 14, shot, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and on his way home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he fa...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

CLEARWATER — Police detectives are searching for a man coined the "Bic Bandit" based on reports that he’s stolen dozens of lighters from the same 7-Eleven.According to Clearwater police, the man has swiped the lighters four times in the last month, t...
Published: 06/22/18
FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was killed and three others were seriously injured after a pickup truck and motorcycle crashed head-on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Floyd Williamson, 72, of Lakeland, was driving northbound on U....
Published: 06/22/18
Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Georgia detectives on Friday recovered the body of Mitzi Marie Babb, a 43-year-old Hernando park ranger who had been missing since Tuesday.Her boyfriend, arrested Thursday on unrelated charges, has been called a person of interest in her disappearanc...
Published: 06/22/18