Defendant Used Officer's Photos To Try To Pick Up Women Online

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Keith Murray
Keith Murray

A trial judge calls it a mistaken identity scenario "worthy of a modern Shakespeare."

A lawsuit that includes, as a plaintiff, a Brookfield police officer who was investigated in an Internet sex sting involving underage girls and, as the defendant, a man who was actually using the officer's photos online in an attempt to pick up women.

"It's pretty stressful to go through something like that knowing you're innocent but under intense scrutiny by your employer, who in this case are police officers," said Ansonia solo Keith Murray, who represents the police officer, Joseph Dzamko.

Last year, then 40-year-old Joseph Dossantos, of the Gaylordsville section of New Milford, initiated sexually explicit conversations online in a Yahoo chat room labeled "Connecticut Romance." Dossantos used the chat room handle "EMT260" and told the detectives he was 25 years old. Dossantos then sent photos to two detectives pretending to be 14-year-old girls. The photos, however, were of Dzamko.

Murray said that Dossantos' wife was "friends" with the officer on Facebook. So Dossantos downloaded the officer's photos from the Facebook page and then passed off the photos as his own. Detectives said Dossantos sent the photos to at least 20 women that he conversed with in the Yahoo chat room.

As luck would have it, when Dossantos sent the photos to detectives posing as a 14-year-old, one of the investigators knew Dzamko. She had attended the police academy with him and worked with him in Brookfield.

Believing that Dzamko may have been the person initiating these conversations online, she passed along the images to her superiors, and the internal affairs division of the Brookfield Police Department began an investigation. The first Dzamko knew about the entire situation was when he received a notice from internal affairs about the probe, according to Murray.

"He was tremendously stressed out by this," said Murray. "He had to tell his wife and family what was going on."

The investigation affected his marriage at the time, as the couple was trying to have a baby. That effort was ultimately put on hold until the outcome of the probe, according to the subsequent civil lawsuit filed by Dzamko and his wife.

Investigators eventually traced the photos from Facebook of Dzamko back to Dossantos. The New Milford man admitted to police that he had been sending out photos of the police officer to women in the chat room.

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