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Stonington first selectman acknowledges relationship, denies he sent 'graphic photo'

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: The Day

Published February 21. 2013 4:00AM   Updated February 21. 2013 12:17PM

Stonington - First Selectman Ed Haberek has acknowledged in a court filing that on dates prior to Jan. 12, 2010, he sent Tracy Swain numerous emails, text messages and Facebook messages from his computer, phone and BlackBerry.

But Haberek denied that when she told him to stop sending the messages, he sent her a "sexually graphic photo of himself" using his town-issued BlackBerry. The defense was contained in his answer to Swain's lawsuit.

While Haberek has denied sending the photo in the past, the Valentine's Day filing in New London Superior Court by Haberek's attorney Dado Coric was his first legal response to the allegations in Swain's suit.

It was also the first time Haberek acknowledged the electronic relationship with Swain.

In his answer to the complaint, Haberek also denies many of Swain's other claims, such as that his conduct caused her emotional distress and physical illness such as migraine headaches. She said these problems are expected to continue and have impaired her ability to enjoy life.

Swain has also sued the town, which had already filed three special defenses, including one in which it has said any alleged inappropriate actions by Haberek were "outside his duties, responsibilities, scope and capacity as first selectman."

In another, the town says it is protected from Swain's claims by governmental and municipal immunity. In the third, it argues that Swain's claims fail to comply with demand and notice requirements under state law.

In November, a judge rejected the town's attempt to get itself removed from the lawsuit. That ruling meant the case could proceed with the town responding to Swain's allegations, followed by discovery, depositions and trial.

Swain's attorney has offered the town two ways to get out of the lawsuit, but those involved Haberek admitting to Swain's allegation of the photo or turning over potential evidence in the case.

The town's insurance company is providing an attorney to represent it in the case. The company would likely pay damages, if any are awarded, according to town officials. No trial date has been set.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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