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Hearing on convicted Watertown cop's pension rescheduled to Dec. 18

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  November 21, 2013 01:14 PM

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The pension forfeiture hearing for Joseph Deignan, a former Watertown police sergeant who faces 90 days in prison after pleading guilty to federal drug charges, has been rescheduled for Dec. 18, according to the board's lawyer.

The original forfeiture hearing, which was set for Nov. 20, was pushed back because of a scheduling conflict, said Thomas Gibson, counsel for the Watertown Retirement Board.

Deignan pleaded guilty in August in federal court to stealing an ID while on the force, and using it to obtain oxycodone and other prescription drugs illegally, according to the office of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Deignan was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance by fraud, and fraud in connection with identification documents, the federal prosecutor’s office said, based on evidence that he had stolen a driver’s license while working as a traffic supervisor in 2010 and used it to obtain more than 100 forged prescriptions.

He will now serve 90 days in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Watertown officials said Deignan, who served in the department for 32 years, has been collecting an annual pension of $55,731 since his retirement in February 2012.

If Deignan’s convictions are found to relate to his position on the police force, the town could try to revoke his pension under state retirement law.

The board could also decide to recover Deignan’s pension payments retroactively to the time of the crime, under state legislation that was signed into law in 2011, Gibson previously said.

Deignan's lawyer in the pension hearing, Nicholas Poser, said he expects that the Watertown Retirement Board will give Deignan “a thorough and thoughtful review,” and he hopes that the board would not take away his client’s pension.

“Hopefully, his pension is not forfeited, because his conviction had nothing to do with his job as a Watertown police officer, which he was for over 25 years,” Poser said.

Gibson previously said he anticipates the board will make a decision on the day of the hearing, which will be open to the public.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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