AG Maura Healey, Ali Res, Allie Bibaud, Col. Richard McKeon, Daniel Bennett, Deputy Supt. Francis Hughes, Gov. Charlie Baker, Lenny Kesten, Major Susan Anderson, Mass. State Police, Ryan Scevious, Timothy Bibaud
On November 9, 2017 I posted Massachusetts: Criminal Justice Corruption, the story of Mass. State Trooper Ryan Sceviour who had the misfortune to arrest one Allie Bibaud, the daughter of District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud, for DUI. During that arrest, Ms. Bibaud allegedly offered sexual services in exchange for leniency, offers Trooper Sceviour declined and correctly and faithfully recorded in his report of the arrest. His diligence was unfortunate, because Sceviour was ordered to remove that information from the report by his superiors, an order that originated at the very top of the Mass. State Police. When Sceviour reasonably and professionally resisted that corrupt and illegal order, he was disciplined. Most police officers, at that point, would have reasonably feared for their career and shut up. Sceviour filed a lawsuit. I wrote:
This is absolute nonsense, and absolute corruption. While officers would not include in their reports everything a suspect said, such as information about their pets, ramblings about their failed relationships, etc., the kinds of things Ms. Bibaud said are absolutely necessary and proper to include in a police report. Not everything included in a report goes directly to proof of a given element of the crime. For example, in DUI reports, I always included information about the ambient light in the area, the temperature, and weather conditions. None of that helped directly prove any element of the offense, but it was absolutely necessary information. Trooper Sceviour did not make those statements, he merely recorded them, which is his job. Not only do such statements demonstrate guilty knowledge, but in many cases are obvious admissions of guilt. Any attempt, however guarded, to trade sex for leniency, might well be bribery or a related crime. In addition, any competent prosecutor would want that information available to judges when they consider various motions to suppress evidence or to dismiss, or when considering a proper sentence.
Even with Sceviour’s suit, high-ranking police administrators normally stonewall and win. But then another trooper developed a conscience, as Seattle Times.com reports:
A second trooper is suing Massachusetts State Police over the arrest of a judge’s daughter.
Trooper Ali Rei filed the federal lawsuit on Friday. Her filing comes days after Trooper Ryan Sceviour alleged in his suit he was ordered to alter a police report to remove embarrassing information about the judge’s daughter, who allegedly failed sobriety tests and indicated she was a heroin addict.
Rei claims she was told to shred and redact reports containing crude statements made by the judge’s daughter. She says she didn’t follow the order.
The local CBS affiliate in Boston adds stunning details:
Lenny Kesten, an attorney representing the two troopers who are suing State Police, said they had their jobs threatened and were ordered to participate in a ‘criminal conspiracy.’
Troopers Ryan Sceviour and Ali Rei are the troopers involved in the lawsuit.
The case started October 16 after 30-year-old Alli Bibaud crashed her car on the Mass Pike in Worcester.
Sceviour says Bibaud admitted using heroin and there were several syringes found in the car. He says Bibaud told him ‘My father is an (expletive) judge, he’s going to kill me!’
The trooper also claims Bibaud offered him sex in return for leniency.
Rei arrived and asked where the suspect got her heroin. Alli Bibaud told the troopers she performed sex acts on men in return for the drugs.
The Troopers entered all that information in their reports but days later were ordered by superiors to exclude the information about sex and the judge. They were told that was a direct order from Col. McKeon.
Sceviour reluctantly agreed but only if he could mark ‘revised’ on his report. He said ‘If this was some random person and not a judge’s kid, none of this would be happening.’
Rei was ordered to shred her administrative journal but she refused.
Judge Bibaud has, to date, reportedly denied he asked the statements of his daughter be removed from the officer’s reports, but for this to be true, one must believe the head of the State Police, spontaneously, because Ms. Bibaud is the daughter of one of many judges in the state, decided to destroy and conceal evidence. Information about misdemeanor arrests such as Ms. Bibaud’s, made by a low level trooper, one of many, would normally never come to the attention of the head of the State Police, and even if it did, any potential problem with such an arrest would be handled by that trooper’s direct supervisor, a sergeant, who also would never send such actions up the chain of command, and certainly never to that level. Of course, normally, no such attempts to destroy evidence would be considered, let alone ordered. That McKeon ordered the trooper disciplined—in effect more obviously broadcasting his actions– illustrates an incredible level of arrogance and corruption. He must have believed not only that he would get away with it, but no one would dare challenge him.
Mass Live.com adds additional, damning details:
Bibaud, who is the daughter of Judge Timothy Bibaud and once worked as a victim/witness advocate for the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, was involved in a crash on Oct. 16 on Interstate 190 in Worcester.
Sceviour and Rei both responded to the crash. Troopers said they discovered a yellow handbag containing syringes, a metal spoon and plastic baggies – all signs of possible heroin use. Bibaud was arrested on charges she was driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Rei is a trained drug recognition expert with the State Police. She was called to the crash scene and evaluated Bibaud only to find the judge’s daughter had signs of drug use, Rei wrote in her lawsuit.
‘The suspect stated that she had used heroin ‘this morning’ and drank two nips of alcohol,’ Rei claims in her lawsuit. Bibaud failed field sobriety tests as well, both troopers wrote in their lawsuits.
At the Holden barracks, Bibaud allegedly told Rei she ‘regularly used two grams of heroin’ daily. Bibaud claimed she crashed the car on I-190 on purpose because she was upset with her boyfriend, the passenger in the vehicle, Rei said in her lawsuit.
‘Ms. Bibaud stated that she was ‘sick of living like this. Trooper Rei asked what she meant by that statement and Ms. Bibaud responded by stating that she had to perform multiple sexual acts in order to obtain the drugs for ‘us’ (presumably, her and her boyfriend),” the lawsuit said’
As Bibaud was booked, Rei heard Bibaud offer Sceviour sexual favors for leniency. The allegation was made in lawsuits filed by both troopers.
Rei said she made detailed notations in the electronic Administrative Journal about the evaluation of Bibaud. She also completed her report on Oct. 17.
Both Rei and Sceviour say they were told to redact Bibaud’s arrest report to remove comments about the sexual favors and also a comment where Bibaud said her father is a judge.
I can see what any father wouldn’t want such information about his daughter to become public information, which is what police reports are. However, attempts to alter public records, to suppress evidence, are crimes. One would think a judge might know that.
Sceviour made redactions to his report, but according to Rei’s lawsuit, she did not shred copies of her journal extract and did not alter her report. The troopers both say they were given the orders during meetings or phone calls on Oct. 19 with Major Susan Anderson.
Anderson, the troopers say, told them both the orders to change or shred reports in Bibaud’s arrest came from McKeon. The troopers claim Gov. Charlie Baker’s public safety chief, Daniel Bennett, also made the order, but Bennett’s office said he never asked for anything to be done to the report.
Rei claims Anderson told her she deleted Rei’s log notes from the computer, removed the journal pages and shredded them. Anderson allegedly to Rei to create new journal entries to replace the deleted ones and shred the original journal entry copies. Anderson told Rei to alter her original report as well, the trooper claims in the lawsuit.
Rei, showing admirable integrity, did not do as she was ordered, and upheld the law. Her superiors lashed out at Sceviour, but it blew up in their faces:
The state’s attorney general is investigating the altered arrest report. Sceviour and Sgt. Jason Conant, the trooper’s supervisor at the Holden barracks, were both given reprimands in the Bibaud case. State officials said the reprimands will be invalidated.
One can reasonably infer this matter is far more serious than even Sceviour and Rei allege, because the head of the State Police, Colonel Richard McKeon, abruptly announced his retirement, effective November 17, 2017. And he wasn’t the only high-level administrator to suddenly develop a desire to spend more time with his family:
Deputy Superintendent Francis Hughes retired on Tuesday after a 31-year-long career.
He retirement comes shortly after Colonel Richard McKeon retired amid claims that a trooper was told to change a report after the arrest of a judge’s daughter. [skip]
McKeon admitted to ordering changes be made to the report, but State Police said it was an acceptable practice for supervisors to edit reports.
Editing to correct errors in grammar, punctuation or honest mistakes in minor details—a trooper accidently wrote 5th street instead of the correct 6th street–certainly. Destroying evidence? That’s a step too far, even for the daily level of corruption in Massachusetts state government. The trooper’s lawyer makes it clear this case isn’t going to go away easily, as The Boston Herald reports:
Attorney Leonard Kesten told the Herald yesterday he is pressing ahead with the explosive Troopergate case, and intends on “going right up the chain” in deposing everyone from low-level supervisors to Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett. Kesten said he wants the truth on everyone who was involved in pushing the redactions, and he wants to protect the careers of troopers Ryan Sceviour and Ali Rei, who remain on active duty.
‘You don’t get to walk away. It’s not that simple,’ Kesten said of McKeon. ‘Clearly the fact that the colonel retired is an indication that someone in government determined that he did something wrong.’
Kesten said he was contacted by ‘someone from the state’ after McKeon announced he was leaving Friday. He declined to say who or what was discussed, but he said, ‘This is not a case where we’re going to settle because somebody’s going to pay them money.’
Kesten vowed ‘all those responsible will be named. We will find out the truth. We’re going to do a real investigation. We’ll look at all communications: emails, texts, phone records. … There’s good cops out there, trying to do their jobs.
I suspect Judge Bibaud, or some of the others involved in the conspiracy now dubbed “Troopergate,” are unpopular enough that others saw an opportunity to settle personal scores, or to gain political advantage. It’s highly unlikely everyone involved in exposing the conspiracy is doing so because of their love of justice.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s office last week acknowledged it was a ‘mistake’ for McKeon to order Sceviour to scrub embarrassing statements made by 30-year-old Alli Bibaud from an Oct. 16 incident report of her drunken-driving and drug arrest after a crash on Interstate 190 in Worcester. Baker further ordered state police to review protocols and procedures for handling arrest reports. A Baker spokeswoman said yesterday there would be no further comment while the litigation is pending in U.S. District Court.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said its investigation is ongoing.
I’ll bet. But that’s not all, as Mass Live.com reports:
The state Ethics Commission is investigating why the former State Police colonel allowed the arrest report of a judge’s daughter to be altered, according to The Boston Globe. [skip]
Officials are also investigating communications between State Police and the Worcester County District Attorney’s office regarding the report.
No review of report handling protocols is necessary. This was a corrupt failure, from the top down, of the State Police, and likely at levels of government having some ability to affect the State Police. Someone, whether Judge Bibaud, or a political friend of his with authority or influence over the head of the State Police, made it clear to McKeon the trooper’s reports had to be laundered. We expect corruption from politicians, but not from judges, and certainly not from the police, particularly the very people in any police organization with the ultimate responsibility and authority to ensure that organization’s integrity.
The first level of failure was McKeon, then Hughes, then Anderson, and every lower ranking commander or supervisor involved in relaying McKeon’s order and ensuring it was carried out. Apparently at least one Sergeant, along with Sceviour and Rei, dared to uphold the law and the reputation of the State Police. They made a bet integrity mattered. It was a dangerous bet.
This sort of thing often happens across the nation, but the officers involved don’t make a fuss. What does a police officer, a person charged with dealing with public corruption, do when they not only discover their leaders are corrupt, but they’re trying to involve them in corruption? Most do as they are ordered to do. Police agencies are paramilitary in nature; following orders is a matter of necessity and honor. They know if they don’t, their chances for promotion, their chances for more interesting and consequential assignments, perhaps even their jobs, are at risk. Smarter officers carefully document the entire affair, keeping copies, making surreptitious recordings, and ensuring that information is given to attorneys or others so if the issue is used against them, or if anything happens to them, they’re backstopped. In some places, that’s a real concern. Police officers have dangerous jobs. Help they need might come a bit slowly, and all manner of crimes and accidents can befall a person.
During these times when it is all too easy to attack the police, to think them all corrupt, even dangerous—and some are—it’s important to remember most police officers, and most agencies, are honest people, doing their best to do a highly stressful, dangerous job few would even consider doing. I’ll continue to follow this story.
They’re worse in rabbit- land. Fine boys out here in the hinterlands.