City councilors call on Janey to release records on former police officer
Acting mayor in hot seat as officials urge transparency in case of alleged child sexual assaults
THREE BOSTON CITY COUNCILORS on Monday called on the city’s new acting mayor and the Boston Police Department to release records of internal investigations related to former police officer Patrick Rose Sr., who now stands charged with 33 counts of sexual abuse of minors.
City Councilors Andrea Campbell and Lydia Edwards, in a press conference on City Hall Plaza, called on the department to release documents on how it handled an initial criminal complaint against Rose in 1995 as well records on any internal disciplinary action and steps that might have been taken to shield information about his alleged misconduct from the public.
Meanwhile, City Councilor Michelle Wu slammed the city over a “breach of trust” in the case that she said now extends to the administration of Acting Mayor Kim Janey.
“I think many folks are now seeing what many community members have already known to be true: The Boston Police Department simply cannot be trusted to police itself,” Campbell said in the briefing with Edwards.
Rose was arrested and charged last August after a teenage girl and her father went to a Boston police station to report that Rose had repeatedly molested her from age 7 to 12. In blockbuster investigation published this weekend, the Boston Globe reported that accusations of child sexual abuse against Rose were well known to the department, which filed a criminal complaint against him in 1995. Although the complaint was ultimately dropped, the Globe reported that an internal affairs investigation concluded that he had likely committed a crime.
Six victims have now come forward to allege sexual assault by Rose, who remained on the police force despite the internal affairs finding and eventually become president of the city’s largest police union.
“The allegations are horrific and it’s absolutely shameful that this is only coming to light right now,” said Campbell. Campbell said she is filing a formal request for internal records, but she repeated a call made on Sunday for Janey to immediately provide the information, calling it “a moment for executive leadership.”
“This Globe report has been out for almost two days,” said Campbell. “Yet the Boston Police Department and the administration have yet to release or agree to release these records. This continued lack of transparency and accountability is absolutely unacceptable. Every minute of delay further erodes public trust and denies victims justice. Acting Mayor Janey should release these records immediately.”
The police department has refused to date to release any records related to the case. The department’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment this afternoon.
Former mayor Marty Walsh had refused requests for records from the Globe, which were first made last October, and his administration maintained that stance despite a ruling from the state supervisor of public records that the city had not met the legal threshold for withholding the documents.
The Globe said the Walsh administration had cited an inability to redact the records in a way that would be in keeping with state law protecting the identity of sexual assault victims.
Wu, in a statement, made clear that issues that may have largely played out under Janey’s predecessors are now her responsibility.
“This is a horrific breach of public trust, and it continues to this day with the Administration’s refusal to release internal affairs records. We owe it to the public to scrutinize the unconscionable actions and collusion that allowed this to happen, and Bostonians deserve to know now,” Wu said in a statement.
Janey’s office said she would be respond this afternoon, but had not done so by 6 pm.
In a statement to the Globe for its Sunday story, Janey said, “It is appalling that there was a documented history of alleged child sexual abuse, yet this individual was able to serve out his career as an officer and eventually become the head of the patrolmen’s union for several years.”
On Sunday, Acting City Council President Matt O’Malley released a statement on behalf of the entire council calling for a “full independent investigation” of the matter, and said the council would use every tool at its disposal to ensure public transparency in how the police department handled the case.
Campbell and Wu both announced mayoral runs last September, when Walsh was still expected to seek a third term this year. Janey, who became acting mayor when Walsh resigned last month because of her position as president of the City Council, announced last week that she’s running too.
The controversy concerning the former police union president will be an early test of Janey’s leadership, and it marks the first moment when any of her election rivals have leveled such direct criticism at her as the city’s leader.
The Rose case is the second controversial issue involving the police that Janey now faces. She will also soon have to decide the fate of Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White.
In early February, only two days after appointing White to become the city’s new police commissioner, then-Mayor Walsh put him on administrative leave following revelations that he was the subject of a 1999 domestic violence allegation by his then-wife.
Janey said last week that she expects to get results this month of an outside investigation of the White case commissioned by Walsh before he left office.Janey took office three weeks ago today. Until now, she has largely enjoyed a surge of feel-good coverage, including national media attention, that has focused on the twin barriers she broke by becoming the first woman and first person of color to sit in the mayor’s seat.
She has been able to announce popular grant programs and take advantage of the sweeping powers of the mayor’s office to make news, something that gives her a clear advantage in the unfolding campaign. But as the problems in the police department underscore, she also will face scrutiny over her handling of all the difficult issues that come with the office.