BOSTON (WHDH/AP) — Massachusetts officials who played a role in the removal of embarrassing details from the police report about the arrest of a judge’s daughter will not face criminal charges, the state’s attorney general said Friday.
Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey said the revisions to the arrest report raise concerns about possible civil ethics violations, but her office found criminal charges aren’t warranted because the officials were not trying to impede or interfere with the prosecution of the judge’s daughter.
The revelation that changes were made to the police report about the arrest of Alli Bibaud engulfed Massachusetts State Police in scandal last fall and led to the abrupt retirement of the force’s superintendent, Col. Richard McKeon.
“I think the reputation of the state police was in fact tarnished by all of this,” Governor Charlie Baker said.
Trooper Ryan Sceviour filed a federal lawsuit accusing McKeon of ordering him to scrub the report of embarrassing information about Bibaud, who allegedly failed sobriety tests and indicated she was a heroin addict.
McKeon said he ordered the report to be revised after Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. contacted him, expressed concerns about language used in the report and told McKeon that revisions should be made, according to Healey’s letter referring the matter to the State Ethics Commission.
“I was led to believe that everything I was about to do was not only the right thing, but it was the appropriate thing to do,” McKeon said, according to the attorney general’s report.
Attorneys for McKeon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I said it was a mistake for McKeon to do it, and obviously I would argue that it was a mistake for Early to do it. Should he resign? I think in the end, the voters will make that decision with respect to this,” Baker said.
Early said in a statement that everyone in his office acted lawfully and that “all standard protocols were followed and applied appropriately as they are for all cases, including the requirement within those guidelines to avoid any public condemnation of a defendant.”
An independent investigation into the matter ordered by McKeon’s successor – which was also released Friday – found that McKeon’s decisions to revise the report and discipline the trooper and his supervisor for the original report were “unprecedented” and didn’t follow any department’s policy, procedure, rule or regulation.
The independent investigation found McKeon should have known he can’t revise a police report after it had been submitted to court and criminal complaint had been issued. It concluded that Trooper Sceviour did nothing wrong in writing the original report on Bibaud’s arrest.
“The culture of Massachusetts State Police must be transformed starting with management,” Kevin Burke, former Essex County district attorney, and Nancy McGillivray, former US marshal for the District of Massachusetts, said in a report detailing the findings of their investigation.
Leonard Kesten, an attorney for the two troopers who sued over the altered arrest report, said the officers have been “completely vindicated,” and called the actions of McKeon and Early “deplorable.”
Baker said that he will be following up with the recommendations made by Burke and McGillivray
The altered report is one of several controversies that have rocked State Police in recent months.
Baker ordered this month that state troopers wear body cameras and cruisers have GPS vehicle locators after an internal audit last month revealed that nearly 30 current and former troopers assigned to Troop E may have been paid overtime for shifts never worked in 2016. A payroll director was also charged this month with larceny for allegedly stealing more than $23,000 from the agency.
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