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A jailed police officer who had an 11-year affair with a vulnerable victim has been sacked after 25 years on the force.
Nicholas Musto was found to have had an inappropriate relationship with a woman who had been the victim of a crime he was investigating.
The 51-year-old is currently serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty to misconduct in public office in July and was still technically a police officer until he was formally dismissed on Monday.
Musto, who had worked as a PC for Hertfordshire Constabulary for more than two decades, was sacked in his absence following a special case hearing, chaired by Chief Constable Charlie Hall at the force HQ in Welwyn Garden City.
His actions first came to light in 2013, but Musto lied about the nature of his relationship with the victim when concerns were first investigated by police bosses.
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Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) then looked into the allegations, following a voluntary referral from Hertfordshire Constabulary in October 2018.
The nine-month IOPC probe examined mobile phone records, police logs and witness accounts as well as with the officer's response during interviews.
After being charged with misconduct in a public office, he pleaded guilty at Peterborough Crown Court and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in July, reduced to 15 months due to his early plea.
Following his dismissal, Chief Constable Charlie Hall said Musto had "abused his position" and that his behaviour was "totally unacceptable".
He added: "This former officer abused his position and entered into a controlling relationship with a vulnerable crime victim, betraying the values of this force and potentially damaging public confidence.
"His behaviour has been totally unacceptable, committing a criminal offence when the public should have expected him to be upholding the law.
"As a force, we expect the highest standards of conduct and will always take action when those standards are not met. I hope the victim in this case can now have some closure and feel reassured that justice has been done."
At the time of his imprisonment, Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson said the victim had been "abused in the most appalling manner".
He said: "This has been a distressing matter in which a vulnerable victim of crime has been abused in the most appalling manner by someone in a position of trust.
"As a force, we expect the highest standards of conduct and will always take action when those standards are not met. In this case PC Musto not only betrayed the trust of his victim, his predatory behaviour has had a damaging impact on public confidence in policing which is totally unacceptable."
Sarah Green, IOPC regional director, described Musto's decade-long relationship as "controlling" and had "no place in policing".
She said: "Under compelling evidence against him PC Musto changed his plea to guilty, admitting the offence of misconduct in public office.
"By admitting his guilt, PC Musto acknowledged he wilfully abused his position as a police officer to form a relationship with a vulnerable woman he met through the course of his duties.
"Any officer who abuses their position of trust and power by engaging in sexual relationships can have no place in policing."
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