Commission Dismisses Adjudicatory Proceeding Involving Former Belmont Council on Aging Home Care Coordinator Kathryn Christopher
Christopher convicted on one criminal charge for related conduct
The State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) issued an Order allowing a Joint Motion to dismiss the adjudicatory proceeding involving Kathryn Christopher (“Christopher”), a former Home Care Coordinator for the Town of Belmont Council on Aging (“COA”). The Commission’s Enforcement Division initiated the adjudicatory proceeding in July 2010 by issuing an Order to Show Cause (“OTSC”) alleging that Christopher repeatedly violated several sections of G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law.
Specifically, the OTSC alleged that Christopher repeatedly violated the conflict of interest law by: (1) coordinating services for an elderly COA client (the “Client”) and selecting herself to provide those services to the Client for private compensation; (2) accessing the Client’s funds and assets to pay for Christopher’s personal and family expenses; and (3) using those funds and assets for the benefit of Christopher and her family.
In its Order allowing the Joint Motion and dismissing the proceeding, the Commission states that Christopher was criminally indicted in September 2011 for conduct that related to the actions alleged in the OTSC, and that the Commission’s adjudicatory proceeding was stayed pending resolution of the criminal case. In March 2015, Christopher was convicted of one criminal charge, obtaining a signature by false pretense, and was sentenced to a term of probation for 5 years. As a condition of her probation, Christopher is prohibited from working with the elderly or being employed by an elder services provider or acting as a care giver for anyone over age 65.
According to the Joint Motion, the parties asserted that dismissal of the adjudicatory proceeding is in the interests of justice and merited for the following reasons:
The conduct for which Christopher was convicted and sentenced directly relates to the adjudicatory proceeding;
- An additional civil penalty is not warranted because the judge imposed stringent conditions of probation that appropriately punish Christopher for her conduct;
- Christopher was fired by the COA in 2007 when the allegations first came to light;
- Christopher has incurred over $100,000 in legal expenses relating to the probate of the Client’s estate and the civil and criminal actions;
- Christopher relinquished her rights under the Client’s 2004 last will and testament which had named her as a beneficiary; and
- As a result of her criminal conviction and conditions of probation, Christopher has been terminated from her employment providing care to the elderly. She is presently unemployed.