WESTPORT, Conn. – A 2011 lawsuit filed against Westport Police Officer Edward Batlin by an ex-Staples High School wrestling coach, who was fired after Batlin discovered the man had been convicted of sexual exploitation of a child in another state, was dismissed Tuesday by a Superior Court judge.
Paul Arcudi, the coach, was suing Batlin for emotional distress. Arcudi claimed Batlin threatened to humiliate him by making false statements about him in public and expose him “for being gay” if Arcudi did not resign from his coaching position, according to court documents .
Arcudi was a volunteer wrestling coach at Staples in January 2010. At that time, the police department had received several complaints about Arcudi from parents and members of the team. As a result, Batlin conducted a criminal background check on Arcudi and discovered he had been arrested in Illinois in 1996 and charged with public indecency, violating the state’s liquor control act and sexual exploitation of a child, according to court records.
The background check showed Arcudi was found guilty of the sexual exploitation charge and sentenced to one year of supervision, plus seven days of public service.
Batlin met with Arcudi at the police department to inform Arcudi the results of his background check would be shared with school officials, and that it would be best for Arcudi to resign.
Arcudi did not resign. Instead, school officials told him he was no longer allowed to coach, or allowed in school buildings, after his record was shared.
Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe dismissed the case after determining there was no evidence to support Batlin acted inappropriately.
“There is simply no evidence to suggest the defendant, Edward Batlin, did anything other than what a professional police officer should have done, given the situation with which he was confronted,” Radcliffe wrote in his decision.
Sharing the results of the background check with school officials, Radcliffe said, was appropriate. Had he not done so, Batlin “would have been shrinking his duty as a police officer.”
Radcliffe further stated there was no evidence to support Arcudi’s claim that Batlin threatened to humiliate him by making false statements about him, or that Batlin made any comments about Arcudi’s sexual orientation to anyone.
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