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Interim Chief Of Mass. Gaming Agency Declines Job Offer

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BOSTON (AP) — The interim executive director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission declined an offer Wednesday to serve as acting executive director over an old allegation of child sexual abuse.

Carl Stanley McGee told Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby that he cannot be effective in the job and wants to allow the commission to do its work.

“After much personal thought and given the growing distractions, I have decided that I cannot be effective in the job I was offered,” he said.

Crosby responded that if McGee accepted the job, he would impede the commission work, citing “the interest of maintaining public confidence” in the commission’s work.

State Rep. Daniel Winslow, R-Norfolk, said earlier that a former state police detective will examine the initial charges against McGee and deliver a report to the commission and to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.

Winslow said it’s unacceptable that the commission didn’t conduct its own investigation.

“The core function of the gaming commission is due diligence,” Winslow said at a Statehouse press conference. “Due diligence starts at home.”

Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said the panel knew McGee had been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in the steam room of a Florida resort in 2007.

But Crosby said the commission felt comfortable hiring McGee because Florida prosecutors determined no evidence corroborated the allegation and criminal charges were dropped.

McGee, who began working for the commission this week, was asked Tuesday at a meeting about the abuse accusation, and he told reporters, “No comment.”

Karen Schwartzman, a commission spokeswoman, said that when the organization voted to extend the offer to McGee to be interim executive director, it was clear that the appointment was subject to a background check. She said every other commission hire would be subject to the same background check.

McGee won’t be placed on the commission payroll until the review is completed, Schwartzman said.

Winslow said his investigation should take a few weeks and cost about $5,000. Winslow said he will pay for the probe, but he’ll also take the unusual step of asking for donations from the public to help cover the cost of the investigation.

“After the report is prepared, I will again ask the gaming commission and the governor to review the findings and to take whatever action is appropriate,” Winslow said.

Also Wednesday, Winslow’s fellow Republican lawmakers successfully pushed the House to adopt an amendment requiring stricter candidate review procedures, including mandatory background checks, for everyone applying for a job with the gaming commission.

“The original gaming law outlined a reasonable and appropriate vetting procedure, but apparently that wasn’t enough,” said House Republican Leader Brad Jones of North Reading.

The amendment also requires that the commission “strive to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety” in all matters.

Winslow said the state law that created the gaming commission requires the panel to file its own code of ethics with the state Ethics Commission intended to go above and beyond the state’s existing conflict of interest and financial reporting rules.

This week, a child advocacy group called on McGee to waive the confidentiality agreement from a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the 15-year-old boy’s family. The Massachusetts Citizens for Children said the gaming commission has a duty to ask McGee to disclose terms of the settlement.

McGee and Crosby had no comment on the request.

The gaming commission has sweeping powers to enforce the casino law, including awarding the highly coveted licenses for the three casinos and single slots parlor proposed in the law.

He previously said the panel knew McGee had been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in the steam room of a Florida resort in 2007. Crosby said the commission felt comfortable hiring McGee because Florida prosecutors determined no evidence corroborated the allegation and criminal charges were dropped.

McGee, who began working for the commission this week, said ‘No comment” when asked Tuesday about the accusation.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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