Town worker faced holiday suspension, due back on job January 2

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

Shelter Island Highway Department worker Jeff Starzee, who was sentenced to three years  probation in November after pleading guilty in Justice Court to endangering the welfare of a child, has been suspended from his job without pay for three weeks that began on December 12.

He was also docked for 45 days of accrued sick leave pay, according to Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr.

Shelter Island Police arrested Mr. Starzee, 47, in February following several months of investigation that led to original charges of sexual abuse in the third degree and endangering the welfare of a child. Police said the child was 15 and turned 16 between June and December 2012 when the alleged offenses were said to have occurred. The sexual abuse charge was dropped as part of a plea deal between lawyers for the defendant and the Suffolk County District Attorney.

Mr. Card’s decision on disciplinary action puts Mr. Starzee back on the job as of January 2. However, the terms of his court-imposed probation include banning Mr. Starzee from entering school grounds or any other place where those under 18 congregate, except to attend sporting events in which his child is an active participant. He also can’t have anyone under 18 at his home unless another adult is there to supervise. Nor can he work or volunteer with any business or organization that provides services or employs persons under 18 unless approved by his probation officer.

In the period between the court sentencing and his suspension, Mr. Starzee was assigned to work at the town Recycling Center.