By ADAM SCHRADER and THOMAS TRACY
Published in the New York Daily News on Nov. 19, 2017
A Bronx detective is under fire for making out with a woman after arresting her ex-boyfriend for assaulting her, the Daily News has learned.
But Detective Nicholas Chabert doesn’t feel he did anything wrong, testifying in court last month that the makeout session “was not improper.”
“The patrol guide says you cannot have a relationship with a known felon,” Chabert said smugly after being subpoenaed to testify at Jonathan Raboy’s trial. “It doesn’t say anything about having a relationship with a victim of a crime.”
Chabert, an 11-year veteran of the NYPD, is facing departmental discipline for the lip-locking session with Yesenia Arias, an NYPD spokesman said.
“I wouldn’t call it a date,” Chabert, 45, testified about the romantic rendezvous. “I apologize on how the shadow of this casts on the arrest.”
Jonathan Raboy, the ex-boyfriend, is facing misdemeanor assault charges after Arias claimed he bent her finger on Dec. 13, 2015, causing a fracture. The couple has 4-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.
On Jan. 21, 2016, Raboy, 35, went to the 50th Precinct stationhouse and asked detectives to execute an order of protection from a Yonkers judge barring Arias from coming near him or their children. Chabert “refused to do so,” according to Raboy’s defense attorney, Howard Levine.
“He made statements that (Raboy) was taking advantage of Ms. Arias and he was trying to use her children against her,” Levine said. “He then took her upstairs and, an hour later, Jonathan was arrested.”
“A mother should be with her children,” Chabert said at the time, according to Levine.
Two days later, on Jan. 23, cops arrested Raboy again after Arias claimed he violated an order of protection barring him from being near her.
Chabert didn’t make the arrest, but admitted in court that he was present when detectives questioned her and signed off on her statement to the police.
“I think from the very get go he was manipulating the facts to try and help (Arias) in her dispute with Jonathan,” Levine said. “He arranged that Jonathan would get arrested and he arranged the facts of the second arrest so that Jonathan would get arrested a second time.
“I think the Police Department needs to look into this, investigate and ask him hard questions,” Levine said.
Raboy is fighting the criminal charges.
“How does any civilian trust the NYPD when a domestic violence detective is willing to prosecute or tailor an arrest against somebody who is innocent so he could take advantage of the so-called victim here?” Raboy asked.
During his testimony on Oct. 27, Chabert admitted to driving to Arias’ home on Feb. 2, 2016, in his private vehicle to “talk about the case.”
The two went to a bar near her home, then made out in his car and inside her apartment. Arias’ mother was home, but in another room.
“It was in the living room. It was the only place I’ve ever been (in the apartment),” he testified. “It was not planned to be a date.”
Chabert repeatedly claimed he didn’t remember much about Raboy’s arrests. And he was adamant that the makeout session “just happened.”
“We never intended to go that far,” he said.
Arias initially denied the romantic encounter, but admitted to it at Raboy’s trial, claiming they only talked about “personal matters” and had kissed passionately, according to Levine.
Arias couldn’t remember who initiated the kiss, the lawyer said. She refused to talk about her date with Chabert when reached Saturday.
“Should we talk about the domestic abuse I endured?” she asked. “This is backlash.”
Her attorney, Steven Goldman, confirmed that Arias and Chabert had a “single, nonsexual, date,” but it had nothing to do with the charges against Raboy.
“(It) happened after the arrest — which is how she got to know him,” Goldman said. “It’s kind of messed up. It’s created a distraction in the criminal case that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Clearly it was ill-advised. But that’s very different from saying he made a false arrest because he had the hots for my client. That is not the case.”
The NYPD chief of detective’s office and Internal Affairs Bureau questioned Chabert about his actions, which he initially denied, but ultimately confessed to, a source told The News.
During a second round of IAB questions on April 19, which was recorded, he admitted to fondling Arias’ breasts and kissing her. He said it happened only after the case was handed off to a domestic violence detective.
“In retrospect, now I think it was probably an error in judgment,” he told IAB, according to a recorded interview reviewed by The News.
The investigators questioning him quickly scolded him for romancing a crime victim.
“We’re not allowed to date complainants,” a lieutenant taking part in the IAB interrogation said. “There are strict guidelines on that. It’s also strict common sense.”
NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel wouldn’t disclose the departmental charges Chabert is facing, citing Section 50-a of the state Civil Rights Law, which prevents the public disclosure of personnel records of uniformed officers, even though Chabert hasn’t been found guilty.
Attempts to speak to Chabert outside the courtroom were unsuccessful. A woman who answered the door at Chabert’s Westchester address said he wasn’t home and ordered a reporter off her property.