Titus Z. Taggart, an 18-year veteran of the State Police who was fired last summer after an internal investigation into allegations he was involved with off-duty parties involving prostitutes, pleaded guilty Monday to promoting prostitution.
Taggart, 42, of Amherst, faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine after admitting to the misdemeanor charge in Erie County Court.
Prosecutor Paul E. Bonanno said the months-long State Police investigation revealed Taggart organized, advertised and supervised exotic dance parties involving dancers and prostitutes.
Taggart’s plea stemmed from such a party at 45 Miller Ave., which Bonanno described as a motorcycle club.
The fired trooper became the subject of an investigation last December into reports that he brought prostitutes from Canada into the United States for off-duty parties.
Taggart was last assigned to patrol the Thruway in Western New York.
“It is an understatement to say this defendant exercised poor judgment,” Bonanno said.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office agreed to the plea because Taggart’s police career is over, and he has suffered severe financial consequences as a result of his firing, Bonanno said.
Taggart has no prior criminal history.
Taggart’s attorney, Michael G. O’Rourke, declined to comment after the court hearing.
Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case allowed Taggart to remain free on his own recognizance, but Taggart was told to report immediately to the District Attorney’s Office after the hearing to be processed.
Taggart’s Facebook page – which was disabled April 26 after numerous photos showing him with women and large bottles of liquor appeared in the media – included 1,634 “friends.”
The District Attorney’s Office waited to prosecute the former trooper until after the State Police investigation was completed.
Taggart and O’Rourke heard the evidence against the trooper during that investigation, Bonanno said.
“I think it’s fair to say the defendant and Mr. O’Rourke know the evidence better than I do,” the prosecutor said during Monday’s 15-minute hearing.