The Hopkinton Police Department on Tuesday evening announced that it is recalling the interview transcript between Sgt. Tim Brennan and investigators from Kroll, the consultant hired by the town to review allegations of officer misconduct. The town was prompted to recall the document after learning that the version published Friday evening following Brennan’s Loudermill hearing on his possible termination was missing necessary redactions — including identifying information about the person whose accusation against former Deputy Police Chief John “Jay” Porter led to him being charged with of three counts of sexual assault. [Editor’s note: This last sentence was updated to reflect Porter is not being sued but rather criminally charged.]
“On behalf of the Town of Hopkinton, I sincerely apologize for the publication of the transcript in that form,” Town Manager Norman Khumalo stated in a press release Tuesday night. “In our effort to be prompt with open and transparent communication with the public about police matters, our efforts fell short of the paramount concern to protect private information in this sensitive matter. We are committed to take whatever further steps are necessary to correct this mistake.”
The release stated that the town’s legal counsel will carefully re-review and re-redact the transcript, and only after that review is complete will the town republish the transcript on the Hopkinton Police Department blog. The town must publish a redacted form of the transcript because it is a public document and subject to disclosure under the Massachusetts Public Records Law; however, the unredacted transcript and other unredacted documents will not be published or otherwise produced by the town.
The Kroll report noted that Brennan had previous knowledge of accusations of child sexual abuse against Porter that went unreported by Brennan to the department. Kroll’s investigation found 11 instances in which Brennan’s conduct violated the HPD’s rules, regulations, policies, procedures and special orders. The Independent originally received a 36-page redacted Kroll report in October after the newspaper filed a public records request. This report detailed the allegations made regarding Brennan’s failure to report what he knew to his superior officers.
According to the Kroll report, Chief Joseph Bennett was informed on Aug. 24, 2022, by investigators from the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office that they needed to interview Brennan as part of a criminal investigation into Porter’s conduct. On that day, Brennan did not officially notify anyone in the HPD of what he knew.
Bennett placed Porter on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to a press release the town sent on Aug. 25. Porter retired from HPD, three days before he was charged by the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office with rape of a child dating back to his stint as the school resource officer in 2004-05.
In a previous article, Town Manager Norman Khumalo said the town “had no choice but to accept or reject [Porter’s] retirement request after some questioned why Porter was not fired by the town before he had a chance to step down. Porter had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, according to a statement released by the town on Aug. 26, 2022. [Editor’s note: Updated for clarification of the timeline and for why the town did not dismiss Porter.]
On May 19, 2023, Porter pleaded not guilty to three counts of child rape in Middlesex Superior Court. Porter was accused of assaulting a Hopkinton High School student when she was 14 while he was working as the town’s school resource officer in 2004 and 2005. When Porter was promoted to detective, Brennan assumed the SRO position, and he met the alleged victim. According to the report, Brennan continued to be in contact with her after he was promoted to detective in January 2008. During this time frame, the young woman related details of the alleged assaults against her to Brennan in fragments during the course of their friendship.
Friday’s contentious Loudermill hearing revolved around the HPD’s internal investigation of Brennan’s conduct. He was accused of violating five HPD policies. They included 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.”
But during the hearing, Brennan’s attorney noted that two of the policies Bennett said Brennan had allegedly violated were not in place until after the time that Brennan allegedly committed the infractions. One was in regard to Brennan not reporting his hiring of Porter’s accuser as his babysitter, a policy which Select Board chair Muriel Kramer noted did not go into effect until years after this situation occurred. Another charge noted that Brennan knew of an inappropriate sexual relationship between the alleged survivor and Porter in 2015. Testimony during the Loudermill hearing noted that the alleged survivor was an adult at that time.
While the Select Board appeared to initially lean toward Brennan’s termination, with the exception of Kramer, it unanimously voted to continue the Loudermill hearing to allow attorneys for both parties to negotiate an amicable solution by Feb. 16.