1:53 PM PST, January 31, 2023
A Vermont state trooper was placed on paid leave after he allegedly accessed a suspect’s Facebook messages without authorization, authorities said.
Paul Pennoyer, 29, was charged last week with misdemeanor unauthorized access, and his arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 16, according to a statement from the Vermont State Police.
Pennoyer had received permission to search to search the suspect’s cellphone as part of a criminal investigation, the statement said.
But later, in July 2022, the trooper logged into the person’s Facebook account and read through private messages after the owner was suspected to have been part of a police chase, authorities said.
“When the trooper learned that the same person he had previously investigated was wanted in connection with the pursuit, he is alleged to have then used the login credentials he had retained from the earlier investigation,” a spokesperson for the Vermont State Police told McClatchy News.
Pennoyer was then placed on paid leave and a detective was assigned to investigate, police said. Last week, he received a citation for unauthorized access, a computer crime, authorities said.