A long list of state troopers have been publicly arraigned over the past year on charges they stole thousands of dollars in overtime. Under the glare of media attention, the officers face potential prison sentences and the loss of their pensions, and they have become powerful symbols of public corruption.
But a Boston police officer facing similar felony accusations three years ago saw his charges quietly erased in a secret clerk magistrate hearing in Boston Municipal Court, the Globe has learned. And a second Boston police officer saw his overtime theft charge nearly disappear in another confidential court hearing in Roxbury Municipal Court this year. Because of the confidential nature of the process, there is no way to know how many other officers avoided charges at similar private hearings across the state.