A senior police officer who had an ordinary affair with an administrative assistant was allowed to keep his job after two investigations into his behavior.
John Purcell (photo) retains his job with WA Police after a second investigation into his behavior after it was revealed that he was having an affair with an administrative assistant
John Purcell, 64, was the assistant director of the Office of Information Management at WA Police when he had an affair with Sarah Colja, 31, from 2011 to 2016.
Mrs. Colja was a 21-year-old university student at the time, while Mr. Purcell was in his 50s and was in a relationship with another WA police officer.
Purcell was demoted after an email check found over 23,700 personal emails between the couple, as well as a dozen explicit photos of Mrs. Colja ‘naked, half-naked, or wearing only underwear.’
A second investigation was started after Ms. Colja claimed they would have sex at work, which led to the birth of their daughter, who is now four years old.
But on Friday, it was announced that Mr. Purcell will remain in the service of the WA police after the follow-up investigation is completed.
Sarah Colja (pictured) was a 21-year-old university student at the time of the affair, while Mr. Purcell was in his 50s and was in a relationship with another WA Police officer
A WA police spokeswoman said that “the new investigation into Mr. Purcell” “has now been completed,” but “no further action will be taken” against him.
Purcell is “currently on personal leave,” but “still employed by the WA police,” said the spokeswoman.
The father of four, now married, previously tried to object to his demotion, but was turned down by the WA Industrial Relations Commission.
Mr. Purcell has been relegated from a higher position in the Office of Information Management to a more junior role in the Vehicle Impounding Unit.
Coincidentally, Ms. Colja was also transferred to the Vehicle Impound Unit after news of their affair came out, although she no longer works there.
But it seems that after the second investigation, Mr. Purcell, who is not a sworn officer, is no longer working in the vehicles seizure department.
A colleague from the unit said “he no longer works here,” he said The Western Australian.
The WA police declined to disclose to which department Mr. Purcell has moved.
Mrs. Colja is pictured with her daughter, who she shares with Mr. Purcell. She said her daughter was conceived after having sex with Mr. Purcell in a Maylands park
A WA police spokeswoman said that “the new investigation into Mr. Purcell” “has now been completed,” but “no further action will be taken” against him. He is currently on personal leave
Police Secretary Michelle Roberts said Mr Purcell’s relegation “must send a strong signal to staff that this type of behavior will be tackled more vigorously.”
“I like many, was disgusted by his behavior and agreed with the Industrial Relations Committee’s findings that Mr Purcell showed a lot of gentleness for being allowed to keep his job,” Ms. Roberts told The West Australian.
Daily Mail Australia understands that Colja has signed a magazine deal in the UK and is unable to discuss the situation with the media.
Now a single mom, she previously released other details about the five-year ‘f *** ed up and toxic’ affair, saying she wanted to show other women that they were ‘more than just another name’ .
“When I look back and grow up, I realize that his position of power played a major role in how he could manipulate the situation. I was treated as nonsense for being in love while trying to create a career for myself, ‘she told Daily Mail Australia.
“Enough people knew, especially the senior heads in his circle, that I was known as the” hussy “at work. And because he had the power he was, he had the power to move me to different floors or offices. ‘
Ms. Colja has moved from the Office of Information Management to the Vehicle Impound Unit, where Mr Purcell happened to be demoted, although neither of them work there longer
Shortly after Mrs. Colja started working for the police, she was given access to Mr. Purcell’s office so that the couple could have sex during their workday.
His partner – who is now his wife – worked next door during their afternoon dance.
“We behaved like young teens – kissing in cars and stuff,” said Colja.
They used their work emails to arrange secret meetings.
Ms. Colja would also send explicit photos of herself to Mr. Purcell’s email to prevent his partner from discovering their relationship.
She said she fell in love with Mr. Purcell and believed he was in love with her at the time.
“I thought someone in his job had to be a good person. I believed him in many ways because he was older.
“Looking back, I don’t know if he was in love with me or if he was going through a midlife crisis.”
Mrs. Colja, 31, (photo) described the relationship with Mr. Purcell, who was her boss and more than 30 years older than her, as “f *** ed up and toxic”.
The affair lasted from 2013 to 2016, even after Mrs. Colja left the corps.
She listed the Perth parks where they had sex, and even used a Maylands park the day their young daughter was conceived.
But after years of sneaking around, the relationship turned sour.
Ms. Colja, now 31, said the relationship broke up when she told him she was pregnant.
Purcell has no relationship with the couple’s four-year-old daughter, Colja said.
Ms. Colja, who has a bachelor’s degree in communications, struggles to find work in the aftermath of the affair.
She now suffers from panic attacks in office environments.
Mr. Purcell (pictured) entered the ranks of the WA Police Department after an internal audit revealed a scandalous affair with a younger colleague