Now it's a story: Police chief admits sexting
The story is Saratoga Springs’ Weinergate: The city’s police chief, Christopher Cole, sexted lewd messages and photos of his “private parts” to a woman he was seeing. At least one photo of himself was taken while in his office in City Hall.
It’s not a crime for one consenting adult to “sext” to another. But it’s dumb as heck. And it raises a number of questions:
What possesses a city’s top law enforcement officer to think it’s OK to text sexually explicit pictures of himself, to anyone, ever? What does he think he is, a congressman?
Why did the woman, who started the ball rolling by sexting Cole a boob shot, decide she wasn’t having fun anymore?
When the woman tried to complain to the police department’s spokesman, why did he merely refer her to Public Safety Commissioner Richard Wirth rather than report it immediately to Wirth, the City Council member who oversees the police and fire departments?
When it was clear the cat was out of the bag, Cole’s offense was a quick defense – a press release admitting to an error in judgment and noting that the sexting was with a single, 39-year-old woman and that the picture sent from his City Hall office was taken during his lunch break.
My professional dealings with Cole left me with the impression that he has been doing a good job. His lack of common sense is disappointing. As one online commenter said simply, “Don’t tweet your meat.”
Wirth called this a case of two consenting adults "having a personal, adult relationship.” Not exactly. The police chief is a public figure who’s accountable for his behavior and is never really off the clock. Unwelcome sexting could be harassment. And the handling of the attempted complaint needs to be publicly explained. The case is far from over. This is an embarrassment – for Cole, for the police department, and for Saratoga Springs.