Natick police officer pleads guilty to assault that officials reportedly tried to keep a secret

Natick Police Sergeant James Quilty remains on unpaid administrative leave.

Natick police officer James Quilty at a hearing at the Lowell Justice Center in August 2022. Robin Lubbock/WBUR

A Natick Police Sergeant pleaded guilty Monday to charges of indecent assault and battery stemming from a 2020 incident where he allegedly groped a female dispatcher at the Natick Police Department.

The sergeant, James Quilty, was sentenced to three years probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender, undergo mental health and substance abuse evaluations, and have no contact with the victim or her family, according to a release from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Natick Chief of Police James Hicks.

The incident initially came to light in a WBUR report produced in collaboration with The Boston Globe. That report detailed how a gathering between colleagues to share a few drinks escalated into the scene of a crime.


The article also revealed how Natick officials reportedly tried to keep the incident secret, even as police leaders learned of the assault and suspended, but did not fire Quilty.

“At one point during the night the defendant inappropriately touched the victim against her will. He continued to touch her despite her attempts to move his hands away from her and to verbally tell him to stop. As the victim attempted to leave, the defendant also reached into her car and again inappropriately touched her and prevented her from leaving,” Ryan’s office said in a statement Monday.

Quilty remains on unpaid administrative leave and The Natick Select Board will convene “as early as possible” to make a decision on his future employment status, officials said.


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