Sex charges vs Rockland police chief's wife

Beth Modica, a mother of four, is accused of having sex and drugs with high schoolers
January 22, 2008 2:55:01 PM PST
A former prosecutor, who is also the wife of a suburban police chief, has been indicted on charges of statutory rape, sex abuse and endangering children.Beth Modica, a mother of four, is accused of having sex, alcohol and marijuana with high schoolers.

Modica, her hands cuffed in front of her for the unsealing of the indictment, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Rockland County Court. Her attorney said it was the first time Modica's character had ever been questioned.

Modica was assistant Rockland County district attorney in the early 1990s. Until earlier this month she was deputy attorney for the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Sloatsburg. Prior to those jobs, she was an assistant DA in Queens.

Her husband, Paul Modica, is police chief of Spring Valley.

The 35-count indictment says that, beginning in July, Modica had intercourse with a 16-year-old, as well as oral sex with that boy and a 15-year-old. The judge issued orders of protection for the boys.

She also is accused of drinking with children at her home and smoking marijuana with them in her car.

Modica would face a prison term of one and one-third to four years if convicted.

District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said Modica's husband was "not implicated whatsoever."

Defense lawyer Gerald Damiani said the couple has separated.

Zugibe said that despite Modica's past involvement with his office, he sees no conflict in prosecuting her.

He refused to comment on whether her children were aware of the alleged crime.

Judge Catherine Bartlett set bail at $75,000. Modica told the judge that her licensed handgun was in her husband's possession.

Ramapo Police Chief Peter Brower said the investigation began Dec. 31, when his department received a complaint in the mail. He said the students involved go to Suffern High School.

Damiani said Modica lives in Nanuet with her mother, who was in court on Tuesday.

He said Modica is in good standing with the state bar association and has no prior criminal record.