Janey says internal records on officer to be released
Acting mayor responds to calls for transparency in case of alleged child sexual assaults
ACTING BOSTON Mayor Kim Janey said late Monday afternoon that she has ordered the city’s law department to review “as quickly as possible” internal affairs records related to former police officer Patrick Rose Sr., who has been charged with 33 counts of sexual abuse of minors, so that the information can be publicly released.
The announcement came as pressure mounted throughout the day for Janey release information on how the Boston Police Department handled an initial criminal complaint against Rose in 1995 as well records on any internal disciplinary action against him and steps that might have been taken to shield information about his alleged misconduct from the public.
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.
“I have asked that the review and redaction happen as quickly as possible so that the file can be released to the public,” Janey said in a statement. “As I have stated previously, my administration has pledged to bring a new era of transparency and accountability to all corners of city government.”
Earlier in the day, three Boston city councilors called on the city’s new acting mayor and the Boston police to release records of internal investigations.
“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,” City Councilor Andrea Campbell said at a midday press conference on City Hall Plaza together with City Councilor Lydia Edwards.
“The allegations are horrific and it’s absolutely shameful that this is only coming to light right now,” Campbell said at the 1 pm press conference. She called it a “moment for executive leadership” from Janey and criticized the fact that she had yet to state what action she would take.
The police department had refused to date to release any records related to the case. On Monday, Sgt. Det. John Boyle, a spokesman for the department, said Janey’s statement would stand as the city response.
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 fact is this is a chilling, silent, horrible moment for many people, and it’s triggering,” Edwards said. “They went to the people that are supposed to protect us and instead of protecting us, they hid a predator.”
City Councilor Michelle Wu, in a statement released early Monday afternoon, 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,” she said prior to Janey’s announcement.
Janey, in her statement, expressed frustration with the earlier police department handling of the case.
“It is baffling that officer Rose was allowed to remain on the force for over two decades and ultimately led the patrolmen’s union,” she said. “I was deeply disturbed to learn that there was no effort to prevent Rose from coming into contact with other minors after such serious charges were found to be credible by BPD’s own internal affairs probe of the original allegations in 1995.”
The city’s looming mayoral race formed the unquestionable backdrop to Monday’s developments.
Campbell and Wu are both running for mayor, as is Janey, who became acting mayor when Walsh resigned last month by virtue of her position as president of the City Council.
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 direct criticism at her as the city’s leader.
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.
US Rep. Ayanna Pressley joined the call for release of internal records on Rose. “That Boston Police leadership for decades would knowingly protect an alleged child abuser and allow him to ascend through their ranks is an alarming violation of public trust, and there must be accountability,” she said in a statement. “It is well known in community that claims directly to internal affairs at BPD are often met with no recourse, consequences or accountability.”
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.