A former Georgetown police detective who was accused of viewing pornography at work has settled a lawsuit against the city.
Tom Bell said he will receive $430,000, an apology and a letter of recommendation from the city under the agreement.
"I'm relieved," Bell said in an interview Tuesday. "It's been a difficult couple of years for my family and friends.
"We knew the truth all along. We're glad that it's over."
Bell was accused of having 34 adult pornographic videos on his work computer and was suspended without pay in June 2007. State police investigated and eventually cleared Bell because the videos were on the computer as part of an investigation.
Bell filed a civil lawsuit in December 2007, alleging that Georgetown Mayor Karen Tingle-Sames and Police Chief W. Greg Reeves knew all along that the videos were evidence from the investigation but tried to use them against him in retaliation for his political views.
He claimed in the suit that the mayor and chief had tried to portray him to the media "as a rogue policeman that had been caught viewing pornography on the job." Bell said he actually had been following protocols for evidence when he copied the images from a thumb drive that had belonged to a Georgetown college student who committed suicide.
Tingle-Sames did not return calls for comment but issued a written statement in response to a reporter's request for an interview. Tingle-Sames said in the release that the city's previous insurance carrier handled negotiations for the settlement.
The carrier decided to settle the suit based on the costs of continued litigation and the desire to eliminate risk, the statement says.
"It was purely a business decision on the insurance company's part, and there has been no admission of liability or wrongdoing," Tingle-Sames said in the statement.
She added that the city is pleased that the litigation was amicably resolved.
Reeves could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Bell, who now works as an investigator in the state attorney general's cyber crimes branch, had been employed by the Georgetown Police Department since November 1995.
He said he resigned in July 2007 because "I knew there was no winning it."
Bell said the settlement agreement was reached last Thursday.
He said he was particularly grateful to three Georgetown Police Department detectives who stood by him during the ordeal.
"Those are three friendships that I cherish greatly," he said.