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Former Deputy Police Chief Porter denied GPS monitoring system removal as he awaits trial on child rape charges

by | Aug 2, 2023 | Featured: News, News

Former Deputy Police Chief John "Jay" Porter was denied removal of his GPS monitoring device at a hearing at Middlesex Superior Court on Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Former Hopkinton Deputy Police Chief John “Jay” Porter (far left) was denied removal of his GPS monitoring device during a hearing at Middlesex Superior Court on Wednesday. PHOTO/MARY ELLEN GAMBON

The appeal of former Hopkinton Deputy Police Chief John “Jay” Porter to be released from his GPS ankle bracelet while he awaits trial on three counts of child rape was denied Wednesday at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.

The alleged incidents occurred nearly two decades ago, in September 2004 and June 2005, while Porter served as a school resource officer in Hopkinton and the alleged victim was a 15-year-old sophomore, Thomas Brant, the deputy chief of the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, said during Porter’s pretrial hearing on May 9.

During that hearing, Brant alleged that Porter committed “two specific types” of sexual acts with his client. The second event took place in June 2005, when Brant said there was “an assault and an oral rape.”

Dressed in a black suit with a royal blue shirt, Porter sat with his hands folded during the hearing, his head turned slightly to the side while photos were being taken. His hearing started nearly an hour late due to previous hearings running behind schedule. Porter was represented by Worcester-based attorney Leonardo Angiulo during the hearing of about 15 minutes.

Angiulo requested that the GPS monitoring device be removed from his client, noting that he served in the Hopkinton Police Department for more than 30 years and has no prior incidents on his record. He argued that there is “no question” as to whether Porter will return to court and discounted claims by Brant that the alleged victim felt “intimidated” by Porter.

During the pretrial hearing on May 9, Brant requested that Porter be released on his own personal recognizance but be monitored by a GPS ankle bracelet. He also requested that “exclusion zones” be considered for the alleged victim’s home, work address and the two schools her children attend.

“Intimidation of a witness has to be based on evidence,” said Angiulo. “There was no allegation of contact since 2015. There is no evidence to suggest that this is necessary.”

At that point, Judge Sarah Weyland Ellis asked if the GPS monitoring device worn by Porter was “imposed as a condition of his release” and whether Angiulo questioned this condition at that time.

Said Angiulo: “I did not object at that time.”

Brant stressed that the alleged victim had made “very serious allegations” against Porter. As a deputy police chief, Porter “had access to firearms,” Brant added.

Brant repeated that his client has two small children, and that the alleged victim fears for her safety as well as for her children. At the May 9 hearing, Brant said the children currently attend school in Hopkinton.

Brant said the ankle bracelet served “somewhat as a balancing act” because, when the condition was imposed on Porter, he was asked to provide addresses for the home of the alleged victim and her children, as well as for the children’s schools.

“The defendant seemingly did not know,” Brant said. “This information was provided because of the GPS condition.”

Brant added that he “would not describe this as a most intrusive act” to monitor Porter’s whereabouts. At the May 9 hearing, he said he did not request that Porter be released on cash bail, instead allowing Porter to be released on his own recognizance. He also weighed the imposition of the GPS against the safety of his client and her children in making his decision.

Angiulo countered that “there is a lack of criminal history” in Porter’s case. He has lived in the same house with his wife of 28 years, he said, and has two children.

Added Angiulo: “We are not discounting any fear the alleged victim feels during this process.”

His argument was based on Section 58A of state law regarding the release of persons accused of “certain offenses involving physical force or abuse,” according to the state website.

Said Angiulo: “Section 58A does not mention fear.”

He added that during an investigation that ended in the early fall of last year, Porter “alleged he didn’t know who the alleged victim was.”

“There was no indication that the alleged victim was not safe during that time period,” Angiulo said.

After taking a few minutes to review the case history, Ellis noted that the conditions of release were actually stipulated under Section 57 of the law, not Section 58A. According to the state website, Section 57 addresses bail and other requirements that can be imposed by a justice of a supreme judicial or superior court. Part of the section states:  “Any person authorized to take bail for such violation may impose conditions on a person’s release in order to ensure the appearance of the person before the court and the safety of the alleged victim, any other individual or the community.”

“The facts create a nexus between the condition of release and its purpose,” Ellis said.

While the judge said that wearing the GPS device is an inconvenience during family and other obligations and is “visually apparent,” she added, “I don’t believe the GPS impedes his functions as a parent, spouse or employee.”

Porter is scheduled to appear in court again on Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. for the filing of a discovery motion.

According to Massachusetts Trial Court electronic files, a trial readiness conference has been scheduled for April 5, 2024. A jury trial is scheduled to begin on May 7, 2024, two days shy of the anniversary of Porter’s pretrial hearing.

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