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Engineer granted court diversion program for threatening remark at East Lyme Town Hall

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A local engineer who was charged with disorderly conduct after police said he engaged in threatening behavior at East Lyme Town Hall was granted entry Tuesday into a diversionary program that enables him to clear his record of the charge.

J. Robert Pfanner, 75, of 3 Ferro Court, East Lyme, had been arrested by town police on June 12.

New London Superior Court Judge Hunchu Kwak granted Pfanner entry Tuesday into the accelerated rehabilitation program, which will enable him to clear his record of the charge if he stays out of trouble for six months. The program is available to first-time offenders who the court determines are unlikely to commit additional crimes.   

A civil engineer who has done business at town hall for decades and has served on town boards and commissions, Pfanner became frustrated with the limited availability at town hall of a sanitarian from the Ledge Light Health District, according to his attorney, Ronald F. Stevens.

When he went to town hall and asked for her and was told she was unavailable, Pfanner said, "Maybe I should shoot her," according to Stevens.

"He was kidding, but you can't be making stupid comments like that," Stevens said during Pfanner's court appearance.

Pfanner has written a letter of apology to the person, who did not object to his application for a diversionary program, according to prosecutor Raphael Bustamante.

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