BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early is accused of violating the state’s conflict of interest law in a report-altering scandal that led to the resignation of two Massachusetts State Police commanders.
The State Ethics Commission released its findings Wednesday, in an incident reaching back to October 2017. That’s when Alli Bibaud, the daughter of a judge, was arrested for operating under the influence. The arresting troopers said they were forced to alter their crash report to remove sexually charged statements made by Bibaud.
The Ethics Commission alleges that, “[Assistant DA Jeffrey] 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 [Former State Police Colonel Richard] 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 and Former State Police Major Susan Anderson resigned after the scandal broke in 2018. Both former commanders, as well as Early and Travers are now accused of violating state ethics law.
“The conflict of interest law prohibits public employees from using or attempting to use their official positions to obtain an unwarranted privilege,” the Ethics Commission said in a written statement. “Early, Travers, McKeon, and Anderson allegedly violated this section of the law.”
Early has denied any wrongdoing, and said Wednesday that his actions “fit squarely within the rules of professional conduct that bind us as prosecutors.”
“As DA, I am supposed to take steps to prevent the law enforcement officers with whom we work from making statements that will be publicly disseminated in the media that hold defendants up to ridicule and affect their right to a fair trial. I adhered to those ethical rules in this situation and will continue to do so, just as I have throughout my tenure,” he said in an emailed statement.
Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey said in April 2018 that the the revisions to the arrest report raise concerns about possible civil ethics violations, but her office found criminal charges aren’t warranted because the officials were not trying to impede or interfere with the prosecution of the judge’s daughter.
An attorney for McKeon in the case brought by Sceviour didn’t immediately respond to an email sent Wednesday. McKeon previously said he was “led to believe that everything I was about to do was not only the right thing, but it was the appropriate thing to do,” according to the attorney general’s report.
The commission said it will schedule public hearings on the allegations within 90 days.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)