- David A. Wilson, Executive Director
Media Contact for State Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division Alleges Worcester County DA Joseph D. Early Jr., First Assistant DA Jeffrey Travers, Former State Police Colonel Richard McKeon, and Former State Police Major Susan Anderson Violated Conflict of Interest Law
Gerry Tuoti, Public Information Officer
Boston, MA — The State Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division issued Orders to Show Cause today alleging Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., Senior First Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Travers, Former State Police Colonel Richard McKeon, and former State Police Major Susan Anderson violated the conflict of interest law through actions related to an attempt to replace the original report of the arrest of a judge’s daughter with a revised report omitting quotes and descriptions of sexually explicit statements and other statements reportedly made by the daughter.
On October 16, 2017, a Massachusetts state trooper arrested the daughter of a judge for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The arresting trooper’s report described and quoted sexually explicit statements he reported the daughter made during the arrest and her statement that her father was a judge. The trooper’s police academy training had stressed the importance of including in an arrest report anything the suspect said, verbatim, including insensitive language in direct quotes, according to the Orders to Show Cause. The next day, the arrest report and a criminal complaint application were filed in Worcester District Court. A clerk magistrate found probable cause, the criminal complaint was issued, and the arrest report and complaint were impounded.
After receiving a copy of the arrest report, Travers allegedly notified Early that the report contained the daughter’s sexually explicit statements and statement that her father was a judge. Early, the chief law enforcement officer in Worcester County, then called McKeon to alert him to the contents of the report. The following day, Early allegedly told McKeon that McKeon could revise the report to remove the sexually explicit statements and the reference to the judge.
McKeon allegedly issued an order through the State Police chain of command that the arresting trooper revise the arrest report by removing the sexually explicit statements and the statement in which the daughter identified her father as a judge.
When Anderson, who commanded C Troop, received the order from a superior, she and a member of her command staff allegedly decided which material would be removed from the report. Anderson then allegedly ordered the arresting trooper to remove that material from the report. When the trooper protested that he was being ordered to remove the material because the arrest report involved a judge’s daughter, Anderson allegedly agreed.
McKeon allegedly ordered the revised arrest report be delivered to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office. Early then allegedly directed Travers to go to the Worcester District Court Clerk’s Office to replace the original report with the sanitized report, which Travers allegedly attempted to do.
The conflict of interest law prohibits public employees from using or attempting to use their official positions to obtain an unwarranted privilege that is not properly available. Early, Travers, McKeon, and Anderson allegedly violated this section of the law by using their positions to cause the arrest report to be revised or replaced, as the removal of the sexually explicit statements and other embarrassing statements would be an unwarranted privilege for the judge and his daughter. This privilege would not be properly available to other people in similar situations.
In addition, the conflict of interest law prohibits public employees from acting in a manner that creates the reasonable appearance that they would act or fail to act in performing an official duty due to kinship, rank, or undue influence from another person. Early, Travers, McKeon, and Anderson allegedly violated this section of the law through actions they took in connection with the revision and attempted replacement of the original arrest report.
Pursuant to the Commission’s Enforcement Procedures, the Enforcement Division files an Order to Show Cause after the Commission has found reasonable cause to believe the subject of the Order to have violated the conflict of interest law. Before filing the Order to Show Cause, the Enforcement Division gives the subject an opportunity to resolve the matter through a disposition agreement.
The Commission will schedule public hearings on the allegations within 90 days.
The Commission encourages public employees to contact the Commission’s Legal Division at 617-371-9500 for free advice if they have any questions regarding how the conflict of interest law may apply to them.