A former Stoughton police officer pleaded guilty today to federal charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements to FBI special agents in a police corruption probe.
Anthony Bickerton, 60, of Stoughton, faces 12-18 months in prison as part of a plea deal for lying about his role in a fake, FBI-arranged, stolen goods ring with two other Stoughton officers who have since resigned from the force.
In a series of conversations, secretly taped in 2008 by a convicted criminal turned cooperating witness, the former detective arranged for discounted high-definition televisions for his daughter and other police officers and a power washer for himself. He thought the good were stolen, but they were, in fact, provided as part of the FBI’s probe.
“Mr. Bickerton’s actions are an affront to the many honest men and women in the law enforcement community who serve the public with dedication and integrity,” said US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, in a statement.
Appearing before Judge Richard Stearns, Bickerton, in a shirt and tie, displayed much different behavior this afternoon than he did in January, when he was escorted into the John Joseph Moakley US Courthouse in jeans and handcuffs.
In the January proceedings, Bickerton broke down and cried while addressing Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler. Today, he appeared relaxed, calm, and he even smiled at Stearns while the judge questioned him.
His wife, Rose, wiped away tears as the 45-minute proceedings drew to a close and her husband’s guilty plea was accepted. No other friends or family of Bickerton were in court yesterday, and no one from the Stoughton Police Department attended.
If the case had gone to trial, Assistant US Attorney Brian T. Kelly said two other former police officers would have been called to testify against him. He would have faced a maximum of five years in prison for giving false statements and 10 years for obstruction of justice.
Bickerton left the courthouse with his wife, giving no statement to a Globe reporter. His attorney, Kevin Reddington, called the process “fair,” and said his client was looking forward to resolving the case.
Bickerton, raised in Mattapan, is a father of three with a master’s degree in criminal justice. He told Stearns that he spent four years in the Air Force from 1969-1973.
Sentencing was set for May 11.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more