BRISTOL - A former city woman has been charged with making serious allegations against a Bristol police officer that turned out to be false, in what police believe was an attempt to destroy his career and personal life.
Janell Commeau, 25, of Massachusetts, tried to get a restraining order against the officer, saying he regularly entered her home unwelcomed to drug and rape her, hacked her cell phone so he could listen to her and stalked her, following her and driving by her home, sometimes as many as 10 times a day, according to the warrant for her arrest - which was made public Tuesday.
Police were able to prove all of the allegations were false, concluding that Commeau was “romantically spurned” and “obsessed” with the victim, the warrant said. Police said she “engaged in a campaign of false complaints and allegations in an attempt to destroy” the officer’s relationship and career. Investigators also found that she has been diagnosed as bipolar and sustained a serious brain injury about six years ago in a car accident, the warrant said.
Commeau was charged Friday with one count each of tampering with a witness, second-degree harassment, conspiracy to commit second-degree harassment, making a false statement, conspiracy to make a false statement, second-degree stalking and conspiracy to commit second-degree stalking. She is free on $7,500 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned in Bristol Superior Court on Monday.
According to the warrant, Commeau, who used to live in Bristol on John Avenue, met the officer in May 2016 when he responded to her home for a domestic complaint. He responded again in October of that year for another complaint. The officer was later left two notes in which Commeau asked him out for coffee, but he did not respond to them, the warrant said
Then, on March 26, 2017, the officer received multiple text messages from a phone number that was later traced to a person close to Commeau. In the messages, the sender started off acting “cordial” before threatening to go to the state police if the officer did not reply, police wrote in the warrant. The officer responded, saying the sender must have had the wrong number.
The next day, the officer received a number of text messages from Commeau’s cell phone number, in which she alluded to being sick of playing “cat and mouse games,” the warrant said. He told her she must have had the wrong number before asking that she “please stop” texting him. Commeau, police said, then said she must have been a “digit off” and apologized, saying she was just trying to set up a meeting with someone, using the policeman’s first name.
According to the warrant, Commeau later admitted to police that she had someone who was good with “technical stuff” get her the officer’s cell phone number, as he had never given it to her. Investigators believe someone hacked the officer’s deactivated Facebook account to acquire his personal information.
On July 20, 2017, Commeau applied for a restraining order against the officer, making a number of allegations against him. She was granted a temporary order until a hearing could be scheduled to determine if there was a factual basis for the order.
Two days later, the police officer filed a harassment complaint with the police department after his girlfriend received some “disturbing” messages on Facebook from a profile that investigators believe was fake and created by Commeau, according to the warrant. The messages told the girlfriend that her boyfriend had been stalking a woman.
Five days after applying for the restraining order, Commeau called police and said her tire had been slashed and that she suspected it was the police officer she claimed had been stalking her. Police wrote in the warrant that it appeared as though the vehicle’s tire went flat after striking a curb, as opposed to a slash from a knife.
After the tire incident, Commeau contacted The Bristol Press in an attempt to get news coverage about her allegations. She said the police were trying to cover everything up and that she had proof. According to the warrant, she also contacted Fox 61 to no avail.
On July 26, 2017, police launched an internal affairs investigation to look into Commeau’s claims. In doing so, an investigator spoke to her multiple times and also to a number of people who had lived with her at various times. Commeau, police said, also made a citizen’s complaint against the officer, but she did not wish to file a criminal complaint.
During the investigation, police spoke to one person close to Commeau who corroborated her allegations. The witness said she allowed the officer into Commeau’s home to drug Commeau and rape her, and had seen him drive by her home numerous times, the warrant said. However, police later found that the woman’s allegations did not add up, as she had moved out of Commeau’s home before Commeau claimed that the harassment had started, the warrant said.
Police also spoke to multiple other people who had also lived with Commeau. They discredited Commeau’s witness, telling police she had coached her about what to say, the warrant said. The witnesses also said that Commeau regularly drove by the victim’s home and the police department to see if he was working. They also said anytime she saw a police cruiser she followed it to see if it was him and even broke traffic laws in an attempt to get him to pull over.
Police, the warrant said, also found that Commeau had paid people to call in false or misleading complaints at her Bristol home in hopes that the victim would be the responding officer.
During a hearing in New Britain Superior Court on Aug. 22, to determine if Commeau would be granted a restraining order, she testified that the officer had entered her home multiple times to sexually assault her, according to the warrant. She said she didn’t report the incidents because she didn’t trust the police, which officers found odd as she had called police about numerous other complaints, including the incident involving her flat tire.
Commeau’s attorney withdrew the request for a restraining order after he was presented with the internal affairs investigative report into the allegations. Commeau, the warrant said, was not able to provide specific dates for many of her allegations. However, in some cases, where she reported that the officer had been driving by her home or following her in a police cruiser, she did have dates. The report concluded that the officer was either not working those days or, through the GPS in the police cruisers, not anywhere near Commeau’s home. Police also examined Commeau’s cell phone after she voluntarily allowed them to, and investigators found no sign of any malware as she alleged.
The officer was not subject to any disciplinary action, as he was cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal affairs investigator.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.