HARTFORD -- A former state correction officer and lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve was arrested Friday on charges that he collected wages from the state while serving a prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Dennis Dockery, 52, of Bloomfield, was charged Friday with first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community and two counts of second-degree forgery. Dockery, who worked as a correction officer at the Enfield Correctional Institution, was incarcerated for 17 months at Leavenworth after he was found guilty of assaulting a woman in Hamden while on active duty with the Army, according to the warrant for his arrest.
As a military reservist, Dockery was still on the state payroll and entitled to a portion of his state salary while activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He was not entitled to any salary while serving time in a military prison, but forged his orders so that it appeared he was serving at Fort Leavenworth rather than incarcerated, according to the warrant. The state requires employees activated for military service to submit his or her orders to the agency they work for to confirm they are entitled to any wages.
According to the arrest warrant, Dockery fraudulently received $5,182 in salary from the state.
Dockery, who was commanding officer of the New Haven-based 395th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, was called to active duty on April 8, 2009, and remained on active duty until Oct. 19, 2012, when he was released from Leavenworth. He was incarcerated from Sept. 13, 2011, to Oct. 19, 2012, according to the warrant.
He served in Iraq from July 2009 to April 2010. In April 2010, according to Army documents, Dockery, who has been married since 1998, traveled to Hamden to be with a woman with whom he'd developed an online relationship. During the visit, the Army charged, Dockery repeatedly slapped the woman, choked her and pulled her hair back. He then engaged in rough sexual intercourse with her and used degrading language toward her.
After Dockery left, the woman called Hamden police. She told police that her relationship with Dockery was "master slave," according to the state arrest warrant. Hamden police filed second-degree strangulation, third-degree assault and disorderly conduct charges against Dockery.
Because he was on active duty with the Army at the time, Army authorities arrested him on charges of rape of an adult by force and assault. Since the Army was prosecuting Dockery, the state dropped its charges. The Department of Correction apparently was not aware of the arrest.
As the Army investigation continued, authorities learned that Dockery engaged in a sexual relationship with a subordinate in Iraq and an inappropriate relationship with another subordinate, according to Army records.
A military judge convicted Dockery of two counts of adultery, assault by battery, and two counts of engaging in a prohibited relationship. He was sentenced to 17 months of confinement at Leavenworth and thrown out of the Army. He also lost his Army retirement benefits.
After his release from Leavenworth, Dockery returned to Connecticut and went back to work at the Department of Correction. Late last year, human resources staff at the department got a tip about Dockery's prison sentence at Leavenworth and began investigating.
During that investigation, Department of Correction investigators learned that Dockery was receiving pay that he was not entitled to and that he failed to notify the department that he'd been incarcerated, which is against state regulations, according to the warrant.
May 25,the case was turned over to investigators in the Chief State's Attorney's Office, who prepared an arrest warrant that was signed Tuesday. DOC fired Dockery May 27. He was scheduled to retire June 1.
At his arraignment Friday in Superior Court in Hartford, Judge Carl E. Taylor set Dockery's bail at $50,000. He is due back in court Aug. 1.