NY state police chief quits amid abuse scandal

(AP) - The head of the New York State Police onTuesday announced his abrupt retirement, becoming the second publicsafety official to depart amid an unfolding scandal threateningGov. David Paterson and his administration.

Harry Corbitt, who retired before and went back into service twoyears ago at Paterson's request, gave no reason for his departure.In February he acknowledged a state police official had contactwith a woman who had accused a top aide to Gov. David Paterson ofassaulting her on Halloween in New York City's Bronx borough. Soonafter, the woman dropped the domestic violence complaint againstthe aide, David Johnson.

Corbitt's boss, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety DeniseO'Donnell, resigned a week ago saying that direct contact by thegovernor and troopers with the woman was "unacceptable"regardless of their intent. At the time, she said Corbitt hadassured her that state police were not involved in theinvestigation.

Paterson refused to comment when asked whether he had askedCorbitt to step down. "I think that we'll move forward now and we will look to seewho will be the best person to lead the state police," Patersontold reporters. "I think he worked very hard and he was helpful atthis period."

There was no formal announcement. Corbitt told a reporter on theCapital News 9 cable station that he was stepping down.

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