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UPDATE: Fate of Sgt. Brennan, implicated in Porter case, to be determined at rescheduled meeting Friday

by | Jan 15, 2024 | Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

The fate of Hopkinton Police Sgt. Tim Brennan, who has been linked to a criminal court case involving retired Deputy Chief John “Jay” Porter, will not be decided until Friday because Tuesday’s Select Board hearing was rescheduled due to the overnight snowstorm.

The Select Board had scheduled a special meeting on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Hopkinton Senior Center to conduct a Loudermill hearing to determine whether Brennan should be fired due to his not reporting sexual assault allegations against Porter, his colleague on the police force. The town announced via email at 10:33 a.m. that the Senior Center is closed, which prompted the meeting to be rescheduled for Friday at the same time and location.

Brennan has been on paid administrative leave since May 2023. The town has not provided information on the reason, noting that it is an employment matter. Brennan has been on the force since 2005 and was promoted to sergeant in 2014 after serving as a school resource officer and detective. He became the SRO when Porter was promoted from his stint in that role in 2005.

According to an email from the Town Manager’s office to Brennan dated Jan. 9 and included in the Select Board agenda packet, HPD Chief Joseph Bennett intends to fire Brennan for violating several department policies stemming from allegations that Porter raped a student while serving as a student resource officer. These policies include not reporting to law enforcement the alleged inappropriate sexual contact between a minor and “the accused,” alleged sexual assault, and alleged rape of a minor. Another allegation claimed that Brennan used the alleged victim of sexual assault as a babysitter. Brennan also is accused of failing to report his knowledge that the alleged victim “was pursuing a criminal investigation and was concerned for her safety and [Brennan] failed to report her concern to law enforcement.”

As the appointing authority, the Select Board will conduct a Loudermill hearing. This hearing is part of due process. It allows a public employee a pre-termination hearing to explain his or her side of the case before a final decision is made.

An external investigation published in October determined that there were 11 instances where Brennan’s conduct violated the HPD’s rules, regulations, policies, procedures and special orders. These violations included not reporting the alleged sexual assault by Porter of a minor to either his superior officers or to outside agencies that could have helped the alleged victim, including the District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office or the FBI.

“People are going to wonder how long I knew,” Brennan said to Bennett on Jan. 19, 2023, according to the external investigation report.

In May 2023, Porter pleaded not guilty to three counts of child rape. He is charged with committing these acts in September 2004 and June 2005 while serving as a school resource officer in Hopkinton and the alleged victim was a 15-year-old sophomore at Hopkinton High School.

Porter was supposed to appear in court Jan. 10 on charges of allegedly raping a student while he was a school resource officer two decades ago. The hearing was rescheduled until Feb. 14. At the Jan. 10 hearing, a Middlesex Superior Court judge was going to announce whether the court received the HPD internal investigation documents on Brennan it compelled the town to produce at a Dec. 6 hearing. The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office has not responded to a request made last week by the Independent to see if the internal investigation report had been received. If the report was not received by the deadline, Judge James Budreau previously said in court that he was going to order Bennett to appear in court to explain why. The postponement of the court hearing and Brennan’s scheduled Loudermill hearing apparently made this a moot point.

The Loudermill hearing is expected to last three hours and will be broadcast live on HCAM.

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