For Immediate Release - June 27, 2007

Former Rockport Officer Pleads Guilty To Charges

Former Rockport Police Officer Robert O'Neil, 38, of 9 Darby Lane, Rockport, who fired a shot near the head of his wife while she was sitting in a chair in their home on January 12, 2007, pleaded guilty today in Salem Superior Court to three charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, and single charges of assault and battery, reckless endangerment of a child, malicious destruction of property under $250, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Michael Hickey asked the court to sentence O'Neil to 4-5 years in state prison, to be followed by three years probation, with a multitude of conditions.

Judge Howard Whitehead sentenced O'Neil to three years probation, and ordered him to continue out-patient counseling, and comply with in-patient counseling if it is deemed necessary by mental health counselors.

He also ordered O'Neil to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, not to use alcohol or drugs (unless they are prescription drugs), and to obtain employment. In addition, the judge ordered O'Neil not to have any contact with the victim or their child, unless that contact is consistent with the probate court order in his pending divorce.

A charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon was filed without a change of plea.

O'Neil was represented by Attorney Thomas Drechsler.