SCITUATE, R.I. (AP) — The third-highest ranking officer in the Rhode Island State Police has resigned following a relationship with a potential candidate for the state police, State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell announced Friday.

Lt. Col. Wilfred Hill took responsibility for his actions and agreed to a demotion to lieutenant before he resigned, just days after he was placed on leave without pay, O’Donnell said.

“One of our members has made a grave error in judgment and he’s being held accountable,” O’Donnell said.

Hill, 45, engaged in a relationship with a 23-year-old woman “over several years” after meeting her when she expressed interest in joining the State Police, O’Donnell said.

The woman later accused Hill of domestic violence, which prompted an internal State Police investigation, O’Donnell said. Investigators met with the woman and determined the evidence did not support a prosecution, O’Donnell said, and the woman has decided not to press charges.

Because of Hill’s rank and the sensitivity of the internal investigation, O’Donnell said he reached out to the Massachusetts State Police, who agreed to review the allegations and consult on the investigation. O’Donnell also briefed Attorney General Peter Kilmartin on the investigation.

Hill’s relationship with the woman violated “numerous” state police policies and the state’s code of ethics, O’Donnell said. Hill’s demotion means that he will receive a smaller pension, O’Donnell said.

Hill had served in the State Police for 21 years and was promoted in April. He oversaw the state’s Division of Sheriffs, the state police training academy, the Capitol Police and the state fire marshal. O’Donnell said Hill was a “wonderful” officer whose previous record was exemplary.

Hill had previously served as commandant of the state police training academy. The woman has attempted to join the State Police and had passed a written exam but has twice failed a required agility test.

Attempts to reach Hill were unsuccessful Friday.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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