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A report from the city’s new Office of Police Accountability and Transparency recommends that the office be notified when a Boston police officer is accused of a crime.
The recommendation is among three outlined in the document released Thursday — the result of a review commissioned by acting Mayor Kim Janey in response to charges against Patrick Rose Sr., a retired patrolman now accused of molesting six children.
In 1995, Rose allegedly sexually assaulted a 12-year-old child. An internal police probe found there was sufficient evidence to support the allegation, but Rose ultimately resumed his full duties and continued working on the force for another two decades, at one point serving as a police union president.
The latest charges against Rose were filed last year. Rose has pleaded not guilty.
“I think the department had a responsibility to act sooner,” Janey told reporters at a City Hall press conference on Thursday afternoon. “You know, I remain committed to protecting the privacy of survivors in that case. And so, I am concerned about how much could have been shared at that time.
“Certainly transparency should have been the order of the day back in 1995, 1996 and swift action should have been taken,” she continued. “It is shameful that it seems that the actions taken were to protect one of their own, rather than to protect children.”
Here’s what to know about the report:
OPAT Executive Director Stephanie Everett reviewed rules and procedures that were in place in 1995 as well as previous investigations and reports as part of her probe. She also consulted department members.
Everett’s review included the “Report on the Police Department Management Review Committee” — also known as the St. Clair Report — commissioned by then-Mayor Raymond Flynn and released in 1992.
The St. Clair Committee learned the department’s Internal Affairs Division was not conducting its investigations of officers accused of crimes in parallel to any criminal investigations due to its misinterpretation of a law. The issue led to long delays in Internal Affairs investigations, and the committee subsequently provided the department with guidance for how it should move forward, the report says.
Still, the Internal Affairs Division was first notified about a restraining order against Rose on Nov. 10, 1995, and did not order Rose to report to the division for another five months. Rose was ultimately not interviewed about the matter until June 4, 1996 — an approach that “resulted in unnecessary delay in taking action,” the report says.
“The Internal Affairs department did not act quickly, independently, or fully upon notice of a complaint,” Janey said. “Since that time, policies and procedures have been put in place to ensure timely and thorough investigations.”
Everett also found that Boston police had the opportunity to fire Rose, but it was unclear what discipline he received, if any.
“There was, however, never a recommendation that Rose be terminated,” the report says. “In fact, the only recommendation that was found in a review of the Internal Affairs files was ‘try to settle prior to hearing.'”
“There was no comprehensive, accessible guidance at the time as to what discipline would be appropriate given any findings” of the Internal Affairs Division, the report continues.
Additionally, Everett found that it is necessary to create an additional check in the department’s internal investigations process to verify that the Internal Affairs Division is taking appropriate actions — a finding that has been partially resolved by the creation of OPAT, the report says.
The report puts forth three recommendations that directly correspond to its three findings.
One recommendation is that the department launch an internal investigation against officers accused of sexual assault or domestic violence and seek witness interviews within 48 hours of being notified.
Everett also recommends making disciplinary actions taken against officers as a result of an Internal Affairs investigation “visible, predictable, and just.”
The city-convened Police Reform Task Force recommended last year the police commissioner should create a discipline matrix that the Civilian Review Board could use for its discipline recommendations in cases it reviews.
Should a police commissioner decide to not use the discipline recommended by the board, he or she must need to explain that decision in writing.
“It is recommended that this same discipline matrix should also be used for
recommendations resulting from [Internal Affairs Division] investigation,” the report says. “In addition to guidance that will be provided by that matrix, the Boston Police Department is also developing and will promulgate this year new policies involving members of the force accused of sexual assault and domestic violence.”
Lastly, the report recommends Janey tweak the OPAT ordinance with an amendment that requires Boston police to notify the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission and OPAT when an officer is accused of committing a crime.
Janey, on Thursday, said she would file an amendment to the law.
“In conclusion, this review found that the 1992 St. Clair Commission recommended a series of reforms that may have prevented Rose from remaining on the force and allegedly assaulting more children two decades after the Internal Affairs Division sustained a finding in this case,” Janey said. “The failure to fully implement the reforms recommended in 1992 was a missed opportunity with very tragic results. In 2021, we have an obligation to ensure this never happens again.”
Read the full report:
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