After appearing at State Superior Court in Danbury Tuesday and having his harassment charges dismissed, Former Bethel First Selectman Robert Burke announced that he will again seek the Office of Bethel First Selectman this fall.
Back in August 2009 Burke was arrested under the charges of second degree harassment, which stemmed from more than 40 phone calls made to a woman he had a one-year relationship with.
In January 2010 a judge approved his request to complete 15 months of accelerated rehabilitation, anger management classes and 150 hours of community service.
It was upon completing these orders that Judge Susan Cobb dismissed Burke of his charges Tuesday. Burke also appeared in court with lawyer Rob Serafinowicz.
In an issued press release, Burke said: "I'm extremely happy to put what was been a very difficult situation behind me...I want to make it clear, I never did anything wrong and chose to use this [accelerated rehabilitation] program because it represented the most efficient means of putting an end to this matter."
Burke also claims his innocence to the charges and said choosing to complete the rehabilitation program does not suggest his guilt.
"The allegations against me were not true," he said. "Recently, the Connecticut Supreme Court stated that using such a program does not imply the applicant is guilty of anything."
Burke was Bethel's First Selectman from 2005-2009, serving two terms as a Republican. The harassment case came while he was seeking a third term when he ran under the Pro-Bethel Party.
"This matter was the result of my political enemies, taking action specifically designed to harm me...to ensure my defeat in the last election and they hoped I would stay for good," Burke said. "This is not going to happen, and I announce today that I will again seek the Office of the Bethel First Selectman in the next municipal election."
Burke said while out of office several residents have asked that he run again and have expressed concern about the state of Bethel. Seeing the town operate from a private citizen's perspective, he said, will allow him to do a better job serving the town than before.