Animal House — the sequel

In one of the more bizarre State House stories in a long time, the Boston Globe is reporting that state Rep. Paul McMurtry of Dedham grabbed the “backside” of a female legislator at an orientation session for lawmakers last month in Amherst.

The sourcing for the story is complicated. McMurtry, chairman of the House personnel committee, denies the incident ever happened. The unidentified female legislator whose backside was allegedly grabbed isn’t talking. So the Globe’s confirmation comes from one legislator who allegedly witnessed the incident, two who talked to the alleged victim, and others who heard about the incident second-hand.

The Boston Herald reported that House Speaker Robert DeLeo received four reports about an unidentified lawmaker’s “inappropriate behavior,” but those reports were characterized as rumor. (The Herald refused to acknowledge the Globe story.)

New England Cable News reported that DeLeo received secondhand reports about an incident of “inappropriate behavior” on December 19. “The Speaker’s office was subsequently made aware on January 4, 2019, of a rumor conveyed by one member, by way of a second member, of a name that Matt Stout of the Boston Globe provided,” DeLeo’s spokeswoman said in a statement. (Stout wrote the Globe story with Andrea Estes.)

Despite all this confusion, DeLeo referred the matter to an outside consultant who determined that the allegation of inappropriate behavior/grabbing the backside was “plausible” and a full House investigation was necessary.

The Globe also reports that “this is not the first time controversy has surrounded McMurtry’s office.” The other controversy dealt with two members of McMurtry’s staff — his female chief of staff was accused of making inappropriate comments (she called a woman in another office “Auschwitz Annie”) and another male staffer allegedly engaged in bullying behavior.

Of course, all of the alleged inappropriate behavior hearkens back to stories and columns the Globe wrote in 2017 unearthing a “climate of harassment” at the State House, which leaders vowed to address.



Attorney General Maura Healey laid out her priorities for her next term — and one of them was the pursuit of a 100 percent renewable energy target by 2050. (State House News) The look ahead followed a look back at the “web of illegal deceit” practiced by the family that controls Purdue Pharma in its sale of OxyContin. (MassLive)

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, at her swearing-in, calls for a new revenue stream for the agency she oversees that helps fund school construction. (State House News)

Food banks want Gov. Charlie Baker to devise a “disaster plan” for getting food to federal workers if the government shutdown continues. (Boston Herald)


Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera fired city attorney Dan Corrigan last Friday, the City Council rehired him on Tuesday, and now Rivera is planning to bar him from City Hall if he dares to show up. There’s been no explanation on why Rivera fired Corrigan in the first place. (Eagle-Tribune)

A Boston Herald editorial says what should have been Boston mayor Marty Walsh’s State of the City address wound up being, with all its broadsides aimed at President Trump, “just another meeting of the #Resistance.”

Karen Cosmas, Tanisha M. Sullivan, and Cindy Rowe co-author a Globe op-ed calling for unity behind Saturday’s women’s march in Boston and denouncing hate or discrimination in all forms. It’s hard to understand their pitch without the context — that the women’s march efforts nationally have been fractured by huge division over charges of anti-Semitism, as this New York Times article explains.

A 48-bed drug and alcohol detox facility failed to win enough support at the Wilmington Zoning Board of Appeals, with the project failing on a 3-2 vote. (Lowell Sun)


The deaths of four Americans yesterday in Syria from a suicide bombing, says a Globe editorial, is evidence that ISIS has not been wiped out, as President Trump claimed.

Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani says he never claimed there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, a statement at odds with previous declarations he has made. (Washington Post)

Yoni Applebaum, in The Atlantic, makes the case for impeachment.


Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux is repurposing emails he receives as mayor for campaign purposes. He says the practice is illegal, but others say it is a violation of ethics laws. (CommonWealth)


Fall River’s first recreational marijuana outlet got approval to begin sales this Sunday. (Herald News)


UMass Boston severs its ties with the Confucius Institute, an on-campus academic center funded by the Chinese government. (CommonWealth)


A new report says physician burnout levels in Massachusetts have reached a crisis level. (Boston Globe)

Boston mayor Marty Walsh and Cambridge mayor Marc McGovern are heading to Canada to visit safe injection sites, which are touted as a stopgap approach to reducing overdose deaths. (Boston Globe)


A coalition of Framingham community groups plan to ask the Massachusetts Cultural Council to designate a portion of downtown as a cultural district. (MetroWest Daily News)

F. Philip Barash of the Boston Foundation says public spaces define our identity. (CommonWealth)

The Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton mounts an exhibit on clothing and the pain it sometimes causes. (South Coast Today)


Sen. Brendan Crighton says he plans to file legislation requiring the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of extending the Blue Line to Lynn. (Daily Item) He lays out his views in an op-ed. (Daily Item)


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is preparing to extend the operating license of the Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire by another 20 years. (Gloucester Times)


Joan Vennochi says the one pressing issue for new gambling commission chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein is whether she’ll insist on obtaining the full report the panel sought on Wynn Resorts and allegations of sexual misconduct involving its namesake and former CEO, Steve Wynn. (Boston Globe)


Cellphone users can now text 911 in Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)

A purse snatcher is on the loose in North Quincy. (Patriot Ledger)


Dan Kennedy isn’t a fan of Gannett, but for him it’s better than the company trying to buy Gannett — Digital First Media. “Gannett ownership has been awful in the usual way,” he says. “Digital First, controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, is uniquely awful.”