It began in May when Rockland Selectman Deirdre Hall alleged that the town administrator, Allan Chiocca, had behaved inappropriately with her.
Later, it was revealed that Hall had pressured Chiocca into sexual activity at town hall and that she and her colleague, Edward Kimball, chairman of the board of selectmen, had previously engaged in what investigators described as a “intense physical and emotional affair.” All three were married at the time.
Now, there are two empty seats on the town’s board of selectmen that need to be filled through a special election.
Here’s how the scandal that has roiled the South Shore town for the past three months unfolded:
May 1 and 2, 2018:
Selectman Deirdre Hall and Town Administrator Allan Chiocca engaged in a late-night sexual encounter at Rockland Town Hall, an investigation later found. Surveillance video released months later showed that the public officials were in the town building from 11 p.m. May 1 until 2:25 a.m. May 2, according to The Patriot Ledger.
May 29, 2018:
Town Solicitor John Clifford announced that Chiocca, who was originally hired as town administrator in 2008, had been placed on paid administrative leave, the Ledger reported. Clifford said an external harassment investigation, lead by Regina Ryan of Discrimination and Harassment Solutions LLC, would look into “serious allegations against certain town officials.”
Neither Hall nor Chiocca were present for the meeting, according to the newspaper.
May 30, 2018:
Hall announced on Facebook that she asked the board of selectmen, which she was elected to last year, to investigate Chiocca’s behavior, according to the Ledger. She said he behaved inappropriately toward her, and said she was ending her run for state representative.
June 4, 2018:
In a statement released by his attorney, Chiocca denied behaving inappropriately toward Hall, the Ledger reported. He said he planned to cooperate with the investigator hired by the town.
June 5, 2018:
During a selectmen’s meeting, Hall announced that she would take a leave of absence as the allegation of inappropriate behavior she made against Chiocca was investigated, The Enterprise reported. She said she intended to retake her position as vice chairman of the board upon the completion of the investigation.
The board voted 4-1 to name Police Chief John R. Llewellyn as interim town administrator and Marcy Birmingham as administrative assistant.
Hall also said that false rumors about her and her family were spreading on social media.
“Indeed I no longer feel that my children are comfortable or safe taking the school bus or participating in community activities,” she said at the meeting. “This is a deeply disappointing consequence of my decision to stand up for myself in a situation where I was treated improperly.”
Selectmen chairman Edward Kimball said the media reports on the allegations were unfair to the town, according to The Enterprise.
“They do not depict the town we grew up in, the town we have made good friends in, the town we are raising our families in, the town we love, and they certainly do not reflect the sentiment of this board,” he said at the time. “Inappropriate behavior regardless if within a professional relationship or personal relationship is unacceptable.”
Week of June 11, 2018:
According to the Ledger, Hall’s attorney filed a motion seeking to block the town from releasing the town hall surveillance video from the May evening when she alleged Chiocca’s misconduct took place.
The motion, which was dropped two days later, included an affidavit from Kimball accusing Chiocca of telling town and public officials that Hall “was a sexual predator who aggressed upon him and forced him to allow her to perform (a sexual act) on him.”
June 19, 2018:
Selectman Larry Ryan attempted to call for a vote to remove Kimball from his position as chairman while the investigation into the allegations between Hall and Chiocca was underway, saying that the chairman made a “fatal mistake” in dealing with the allegations. When a vote couldn’t be brought forward, Ryan stormed out, according to the Ledger.
“He should own up to what he did and resign,” Ryan said after he left the meeting. “People have no respect for him anymore in this town and if he thinks (they do) … he’s sadly mistaken. If he wants to embarrass himself and his family then go ahead.”
During the meeting, according to the Ledger, Kimball said he had recused himself from the investigation, but did not say why. He also called the investigation a “sham” and said he no longer had faith in the town’s lawyer.
He said he had no intention of resigning his position on the board.
July 10, 2018:
Regina Ryan read the results of the investigation, which found Hall pressured Chiocca into sexual activity on the evening of May 1.
“Mrs. Hall used her position as a member of the Board of Selectmen, who was actively reviewing and would soon be voting on his request for contract extension and salary increase, to pressure him into engaging in sexual activities with her,” she said.
Hall initially claimed she had been drinking and was too intoxicated to consent with Chiocca, according to the station, but investigators found otherwise.
The board voted to release the surveillance video of the evening in question and also removed Kimball from his position as chairman.
Hall, who was not at the meeting, announced through her lawyer that she was resigning immediately from the board.
Kimball’s involvement was also investigated by the outside firm, but the board would not discuss the accusations against the selectman at the meeting, according to the Ledger.
“If you want to recall these people or remove him from office so we can move on with the business of this town, then please do that,” Larry Ryan said. “We can’t vote to do anything with Mr. Kimball.”
The town’s attorney said Chiocca would remain on paid administrative leave.
“While Mr. Chiocca was found to not have violated the town’s discriminatory harassment policy, other serious misconduct was identified in the investigation,” Clifford said.
Chiocca’s attorney, Adam Shafran, released a statement after the meeting urging the board to release the full report from the investigation. He alleged that Hall was having an “intense physical and emotional affair” with Kimball, according to the Ledger.
“Mr. Chiocca is disheartened that the Rockland Board of Selectmen has voted not to allow a further disclosure of the investigator’s findings, which lay out the disturbing conspiracy of lies concocted by Hall and Kimball to smear the reputation of Mr. Chiocca for their own personal and political benefit,” the statement read. “Mr. Chiocca urges the Board of Selectman to release the full 29-page investigative report so that the residents of Rockland are given all the facts regarding this case. Only then will the public understand the full scope of Hall’s and Kimball’s egregious conduct.”
According to the Ledger, the report from investigators stated the affair between Hall and Kimball took place through March and April.
July 14, 2018:
Rockland residents launched a petition to start the process for a recall vote for Kimball.
July 23, 2018:
A report by Boston 25 found that the investigation into the sex scandal cost taxpayers more than $40,000.
July 25, 2018:
Police were called to Rockland Town Hall for a report of a “possible assault in progress” involving Kimball and residents outside the government building gathering signatures to support the selectman’s recall, the Ledger reports. Officers who arrived at the scene found there was no assault, but Kimball had gotten into a verbal argument with someone outside collecting signatures for the petition.
July 31, 2018:
An affidavit submitted to the town calling for Kimball’s resignation had more than 500 signatures, and, after the town clerk issued a recall petition, organizers were working to collect the required 1,800 signatures to force an election to push him out of office.
However, Kimball submitted his letter of resignation to the Rockland town clerk on Tuesday morning, according to the Ledger.
“We are in a period of tremendous turmoil and it was always my hope that I could work to help the community I love pull through this crisis and continue on the course that we have set over the last 10 years,” Kimball wrote. “The last few weeks have caused an amazing amount of stress on the people that I love most, my family. It became clear over the weekend that I need to concentrate my time, love, and effort on them.”
At a board meeting Tuesday evening, Birmingham was unanimously appointed to replace Llewellyn as interim town administrator. The three remaining board members agreed that Chiocca’s contract with the town should be terminated, according to the Ledger, but they cannot vote until there are four selectmen in office.
The board of selectmen is expected to finalize a date for a special election to fill the two vacant seats at its meeting Aug. 14.