Boston cops hid that their union leader is a child molestor

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11 Apr 2021, 9:51 am

For years, the Boston Police kept a secret: the union president was an alleged child molester

A father and his teenage daughter walked into the Hyde Park police station last August and reported a heinous crime.

The girl said she had been repeatedly molested from age 7 through 12 by former Boston police union president Patrick M. Rose Sr. Five more people soon came forward, accusing Rose of molesting them as children over the span of three decades, including the girl’s own father.

Rose being tagged as a child sexual abuser was news to the city when he was arrested and charged last summer. But it wasn’t news to the Boston Police Department where Rose served for two decades as a patrolman.

A Globe investigation has found that the Boston Police Department in 1995 filed a criminal complaint against him for sexual assault on a 12-year-old, and, even after the complaint was dropped, proceeded with an internal investigation that concluded that he likely committed a crime. Despite that finding, Rose kept his badge, remained on patrol for another 21 years, and rose to power in the union that represents patrol officers.

Today Boston police are fighting to keep secret how the department handled the allegations against Rose, and what, if any, penalty he faced. Over the years, this horrific case has come full circle: The father who brought his daughter in last summer to report abuse by Rose was the boy allegedly abused at age 12 in the 1995 case. The department’s lack of administrative action back then may have left Rose free to offend again and again, from one generation to the next.

Prosecutors now say the boy recanted his story under pressure from Rose, a common phenomenon for young survivors of abuse when faced with demands from their abuser. Though the criminal case against Rose was dropped as a result, a separate police internal affairs investigation went forward and concluded Rose broke the law.

RELATED: Editorial: If an alleged child rapist isn’t dangerous, who is?
Boston police won’t say what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against Rose. But it is clear the department did little or nothing to limit his contact with children, and allowed him to salvage a career that led to the union presidency, where he became the public face of the city’s 1,500 patrol officers.

The Globe investigation raises significant questions about how the department handled Rose, whose broader history of alleged molestation has only become clear now that he is jailed facing 33 counts of sexual abuse of six victims from age 7 to 16 in Suffolk Superior Court. For security reasons, he is being held in the Berkshire County Jail on $200,000 cash bail.

His attorney, William J. Keefe, said Rose is fighting the charges.

Even after a rebuke from the state’s supervisor of public records, former mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration last month said it would not release the files. The supervisor said the city had failed to meet its legal threshold to withhold the files, but the administration was steadfast. The administration said the records were impossible to redact in a way that would comply with a state law that shields the identities of victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

The police department has drawn a similar hard line in other cases — or cited other laws — to withhold entire internal affairs files of officers accused of misconduct, including that of suspended police Commissioner Dennis White, who faced allegations of domestic violence raised by his former wife.

Most of the police officials from the 1990s who might’ve had a role in responding to the allegation against Rose are no longer with the department.

Boston’s police department has a long history of protecting its own from accountability, particularly if the officer, like Rose, is white, said retired deputy superintendent Willie Bradley, who is Black.

“The police department’s refusal to actually deal with this issue is a direct contributor to what (later) happened,” said Bradley. “It would have been out there and people would have been aware of it, but they hid it.”

“In my opinion, that’s criminal,” added Bradley, who is now a lecturer and professor at Massasoit, Endicott, and Curry colleges.

After just a year on the force, trouble emerged. The 12-year-old boy reported to law enforcement that in June 1995 Rose sexually abused him, according to a docket archived in West Roxbury District Court and other records.

The records show Sergeant Detective John McLean of the BPD’s Sexual Assault Unit filed a criminal complaint against Rose on Dec. 1, 1995, for indecent assault and battery of a child under 14. (McLean, who retired in 2006, did not respond to requests for comment.)

In more recent court records, prosecutors said the boy did not disclose “the full extent of the abuse” at the time. The case stayed out of the news. “After receiving pressure from the defendant, the child ultimately recanted the abuse,” prosecutors said. The case was then dropped.

It is not uncommon for children, traumatized and intimidated, to retract allegations.

Prosecutors dismissed Rose’s criminal case on May 7, 1996.

The department then conducted its own internal affairs investigation into Rose, as is the case with any police employee accused of misconduct. These internal cases have a lower burden of proof than the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard for a criminal conviction, requiring only a “preponderance of evidence,” which is essentially 51 percent or more likely than not, said Nolan, the retired police lieutenant.

In this case, internal affairs “sustained” the administrative charges against Rose, meaning investigators found “sufficient evidence to support the allegations.”

The alleged abuse persisted. Prosecutors now allege in court records that Rose’s abuse of the 12-year-old “continued and escalated” after the criminal case was dismissed. During the same time period, he allegedly molested two other children.

In the police department, Rose never rose above the rank of patrolman. But in the patrolmen’s union, Rose gained power, serving alongside President Thomas J. Nee.

Even during the years of his union presidency, Rose allegedly preyed on a new generation of children, prosecutors say. He retired in 2018 and collects an annual pension of just under $78,000.

Then last August, a father took his daughter to the police station in Hyde Park, and Rose’s world imploded in the face of a wave of court charges.

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12 Apr 2021, 1:31 pm

...Wow. Disgusting.

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13 Apr 2021, 5:03 pm

Should connect this to the other thread on the cop resigning over the George Floyd trial in an attempt to lend support to Derek Chauvin. You can't expect anything less, the police close ranks to protect one another. Like the armed forces and Catholic prietshood they enforce a code of silence.


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13 Apr 2021, 6:17 pm

Cops do omertà better than the mob.

politics is dumb but very important