Fifty Shades Darker in Rockland

Investigators hired by the town of Rockland concluded Selectman Deirdre Hall pressured Town Administrator Allan Chiocca into having sex at town hall after moving on from an “intense emotional and physical affair” with Edward Kimball, the chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

Hall had already called off her run for state rep and her lawyer said she is resigning from her selectman’s post. The fate of Chiocca, who has been on paid leave since the scandal first surfaced six weeks ago, will be decided at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Tuesday. Kimball has already been ousted as chair of the board, and may now be the target of a recall effort. Hall, Chiocca, and Kimball are all married. (For a timeline of earlier events, check out Fifty Shades of Rockland.)

The board released only a two-sentence statement from private investigator Regina Ryan that rejected Hall’s assertion that any sexual activity between her and Chiocco was non-consensual because she was intoxicated. “With respect to the allegation that Ms. Hall violated the town’s discriminatory harassment policy,” Ryan wrote, “I substantiate Mr. Chiocca’s allegation that on May 1-2, 2018, Ms. Hall used her position as a member of the Board of Selectmen, who was actively reviewing and would soon be voting on his request for a contract extension and salary increase, to pressure him into engaging in sexual activities with her.”

Town officials did not release Ryan’s full report, but the Patriot Ledger said it obtained a copy of the 29-page document from Chiocca’s attorney. “Although not inclined to accept Ms. Hall’s advances, Mr. Chiocca was concerned that if he thwarted her advances, she would not vote in favor of his contract extension and his increase in compensation,” the report said, according to the Patriot Ledger.

The report also disclosed that Hall and Kimball had an affair that spanned March and April. The Patriot Ledger quoted Selectman Larry Ryan, who has taken over as chairman of the board, as saying Kimball lied about the affair “from the beginning of the investigation.” Ryan told the Patriot Ledger he no longer trusts Kimball, but stressed that the board cannot discipline him because he is an elected official who answers to the voters and not to the board.

The board on Wednesday released surveillance video obtained from five locations at the town offices. The video showed nothing steamy. In fact, Hall and Chiocca keep their distance from each other on the video, touching each other briefly only a couple times. Hall at times appears unsteady on her feet, but she doesn’t seem incapacitated. The video has no sound, but neither Hall nor Chiocca give the impression that they were being coerced, which presumably means the town’s investigators based their conclusions on interviews with the individuals involved.

The video shows the two of them pulling up in a vehicle that appears to be a pickup truck. They entered town hall at 11:46 p.m. and proceeded directly down a hall to the bathrooms. Chiocca emerged from the men’s bathroom first, and was then joined by a wobbly Hall, who put her head in her hands as she talked to Chiocca.

They then headed out to the parking lot, stopping halfway to their vehicle and talking for about 10 minutes face to face. At the end of their chat, Hall headed toward the pickup truck and Chiocca headed in the opposite direction, towards Town Hall. Hall appeared to change her mind a few seconds later and followed Chiocca. He stopped just before entering the building, allowing her to catch up, and then they entered town hall together and entered an office and closed the door. Chiocca emerged a few minutes later to look for Hall’s purse. He first checked his vehicle and then the ladies room, where he found the purse.

Chiocca returned to the office with the purse and then he and Hall remained behind closed doors for close to two hours. Chiocca emerged with his tie undone, hanging loose around his neck. He went to the bathroom and then was joined in the hallway by Hall. The two of them exited the building, with Chiocca walking well ahead of Hall. They returned to their vehicle and drove away.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

The Legislature’s delay in passing a spending plan could give Gov. Charlie Baker an edge in wheeling and dealing over what eventually emerges. (Boston Globe)

Students John Gabrieli, Ivy Lee, and Danielle St. Pierre say the #NoMore and #TimesUp hashtags have appeared everywhere, but what have states like Massachusetts really done about the problem? (CommonWealth)

Liz Friedman of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women argues that legislation is needed to address gender discrimination in disability insurance. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Millville, on the Rhode Island border, rejected a large Proposition 2 ½ override that would have added about $914 to the average property tax bill of $4,141, and now is dealing with the fallout — no trash pickup, dark street lights, a closed city center, and a library open only eight hours a week. (Boston Globe)

A small Catholic order of priests and brothers in Waltham is fighting the city’s efforts to take their property by eminent domain as a site for a new public high school. (Boston Herald)

The Springfield City Council approves a new police contract that includes raises, a residency clause, and a body camera requirement. (MassLive)

A West Bridgewater selectman is calling for a boycott of Speedway gas stations because a shuttered station the company bought three years ago remains vacant and is becoming an “eyesore” (The Enterprise)

Boston Globe columnist Nestor Ramos laments the way the city is blocking a Starbucks in the North End. “The way we protect places we cherish is not by allowing a business to be chased off by would-be competitors,” he said.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Even as he rails against allies and demands more money for defense, President Trump said “I believe in NATO.” (New York Times)

The White House released records that shows Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh racked up thousands in credit card debt buying Washington Nationals season tickets and some home improvement projects. (Washington Post)

Conservative columnist Mona Charen makes a connection between abortion and the rescue of the youth soccer team from a Thailand cave. This cannot be easily explained. (National Review)

ELECTIONS

Who can be more progressive? Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez and Democratic challenger Nika Elugardo debated in front of Jamaica Plain progressives and there weren’t a lot of differences — or sparks. (Bay State Banner)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Tariffs are making it more expensive to build in Boston, which could have a ripple effect on construction companies and the projects they produce — apartment, office space, and bridges. (Boston Globe)

Harbor Towers residents sue to block developer Don Chiofaro’s proposed tower on the site of the Boston Harbor Garage. (Boston Globe)

For the first time, a majority of MassChallenge startup teams include a woman. (WBUR)

The country’s Consumer Price Index increased at the fastest annual rate since 2012. (Wall Street Journal)

The NBA all-star game is coming to Charlotte next year and the city and the league plan to use the event to give a boost to minority-owned businesses. (Governing)

The Japanese drug maker Otsuka Pharmaceutical agreed to buy Visterra Inc. of Waltham for $430 million. (Boston Globe)

A group of African-American soybean farmers in Tennessee and Mississippi have filed suit against an Iowa company saying the firm sold them defective seeds because of their race. (Washington Post)

Papa John’s founder and board chair John Schnatter resigned for using a racial slur during a conference call in May. (Associated Press)

ARTS

Greg Jenkins is a city employee whose job is to keep Somerville edgy and cool. (CommonWealth)

EDUCATION

Salah Khelfaoui, the superintendent of schools in Lowell, withdrew his name from consideration for a job in Randolph after he said officials in Lowell strongly encouraged him to stay. (Lowell Sun) The Lowell Sun wasn’t among those encouraging him to stay; in fact, an editorial in the paper said even if Khelfaoui failed to win the job in Randolph he should go anyway.

The Pittsfield School Committee refused to budge on its decision to rename the Christopher Columbus holiday as Indigenous Peoples Day. “I want to be someone who corrects the record,” said Mayor Linda Tyer, a member of the School Committee. “I can’t perpetuate a myth that has been debunked.”

Quincy College has brought back the former dean of the school’s defunct nursing program to revive the troubled department that unraveled and lost its state accreditation after her departure in 2015. (Patriot Ledger)

Lesley University in Cambridge is eyeing a potential satellite campus in New Bedford. (Standard-Times)

Andrea McGrath, an elementary school principal in Ashburnham, was fired after her husband was charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old school employee. (Associated Press)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Obesity rates continue to rise not only in the United States but around the world, according to the latest survey, leading to a marked increase in risks for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. (U.S. News & World Report)

Opposition is growing in Falmouth to an expansion plan by the Gosnold treatment facility to buy a former nursing home located next to an elementary school for a 99-bed drug and alcohol recovery center. (Cape Cod Times)

TRANSPORTATION

The parents of a teen killed by a driver who was texting talk about their push for the state to pass a ban on handheld cellphone use. Massachusetts is one of only two New England states without a ban. (Greater Boston)

CASINOS/MARIJUANA

Peabody signs host agreements with two medical pot dispensaries that could bring $500,000 into the city’s coffers. (Salem News)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Attorneys representing Stanley Rosenberg and Bryon Hefner urged a judge to compel their accuser to identify himself in court, saying doing so would put everyone on a level playing field. But attorneys for the “John Doe” accuser say they’ve never been asked to identify an alleged victim of sexual assault. (Boston Globe)

William Holts, a state correctional officer, pleaded guilty to smuggling suboxone to an inmate. Suboxone is an opiate that is used in the treatment of addiction but can also be used to get high. (MassLive)

A Mexican national living in Framingham who was deported nine previous times has pled guilty to illegally entering the country. After serving whatever sentence is handed down, he faces another deportation hearing. (MetroWest Daily News)

The Department of Justice has quietly reopened the investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Tilll, a 14-year-old black boy whose gruesome slaying in Mississippi after he was accused of making comments to a white woman remains one of the symbols of the fight against integration and civil rights. (New York Times)

MEDIA

The Boston Globe Spotlight Team is preparing to do a six-part podcast on Aaron Hernandez. (Boston Globe)

Battling fake accounts, Twitter plans to eliminate millions of users, or about 6 percent of the total. (New York Times)

Two Danish journalists have published a book examining how news organizations can create and maintain new and closer ties with their readers. They say success will come only if news organizations challenge the journalist dogmas of the last century, including neutrality and objectivity. (Nieman Journalism Lab)