Former town employee enters plea deal, pays $2K fine in New Milford email hacking case

Photo of Kendra Baker

TORRINGTON — New Milford’s former information technology director, who was accused of hacking town officials’ emails, was convicted last week on two counts of fifth-degree computer crime.

Kendrick Protzmann, 53, was originally charged with 41 counts of the class D felony charge, as well as eight counts of third-degree computer crime — a class B misdemeanor — when he was arrested last year.

“The matter is concluded. The only penalty was a fine, and the remaining counts were dropped,” Protzmann’s attorney, William F. Dow, said Monday.

Protzmann’s case was handled at state Superior Court in Torrington, where he entered a deal to plead guilty to two counts of fifth-degree computer crime. A clerk at the courthouse said a $1,000 fine was paid on each count.

The unauthorized email access occurred between June 10, 2019 and Sept. 9, 2019, when Protzmann was no longer a town employee, according to the warrant for his arrest.

Protzmann — who had served as New Milford’s IT director since 2002 — was placed on paid administrative leave until Sept. 3, 2019, according to the warrant. His access into the email archive system should have been revoked, but police said that didn’t appear to happen.

An investigation was launched in October 2019, after town officials discovered current and former residents’ personal information had ended up online. Through an internal IT audit, as well as an investigation with police and outside forensic investigators, authorities determined someone accessed town emails without authorization.

Protzmann told investigators he accessed the server “to feed his curiosity habit,” according to the warrant for his arrest.

The warrant stated the former IT director downloaded 35 emails to and from high-ranking officials in town, including Mayor Pete Bass and Personnel Director Greg Bollaro.

After learning there was a warrant for his arrest, Protzmann turned himself in to police in January 2020.