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Judge compels town to release police internal investigation records in Porter case by Jan. 9

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

The judge in the ongoing court case against former Hopkinton Police Deputy Chief John “Jay” Porter on Wednesday said he would file an order compelling the town to provide internal investigation records to him if he did not receive them by Jan. 9. If this request is not completed by then, the judge will follow a motion to compel, where town representatives must appear in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn the following day to explain why they have not provided information and specifically audio recordings the judge requested.

Judge James Budreau presided over the 10-minute hearing. At the last hearing on Nov. 14, Budreau allowed the defense’s motion from the previous hearing on Oct. 4 seeking access to information from the work phone of HPD Sgt. Tim Brennan, who had replaced Porter as a school resource officer when Porter was promoted to sergeant, Budreau said.

The Massachusetts State Police performed the phone data extraction to ensure that superfluous personal information was not submitted to the court, said Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Brant. Brant gave the information to the court on the morning of the hearing.

“I had someone — a paralegal — print it out,” Brant continued. “I did not look at it. She did not look at it.”

Angiulo noted to the judge that “there’s a fair amount of material to go through.” He stressed that the previous motion he filed will provide Budreau with direction as he reviews the document. The judge said did not have time before the scheduled hearing at 11 a.m. to review the file.

“I filed a very specific motion arguing about what was relevant, why it was relevant,” said Angiulo, noting that the motion is on file.

“Ultimately the punchline is that these parties communicated extensively over a long period of time,” Angiulo stressed. “The alleged victim’s story has — even by the commonwealth’s version — changed over time.”

He also reminded the judge about a motion he filed at the previous hearing regarding the investigation report “generated on behalf of the town” that looked into Brennan’s actions.

“There’s been some production by the commonwealth,” Angiulo said. “But there’s a number of things that are missing that we’ve requested that were ordered by the court.”

Angiulo submitted newspaper articles on the case to the judge.

“There’s a report of interviews having been conducted and reviewed by the reporters that was not included in the report provided by the commonwealth,” he said, adding that there appeared to be gap in the information.

Brant countered that the commonwealth provided the internal investigation report “as it exists that was given to us by the chief and by the town.” The report references audio interviews of the witnesses that are “encapsulated in the internal affairs report.”

He added that he has been seeking the audio recordings from HPD Chief Joseph Bennett and from the town but had not received them as of the hearing.

Said Budreau: “I would like to have it.”

Brant suggested that the judge file a motion to compel the town to provide the recordings, the next step in the process. This would formalize the request in writing.

“You can tell your police chief or whoever is in charge of the investigation that there’s going to be a motion to compel filed,” Budreau said to Brant. “And the failure to produce it could result in sanctions.”

Budreau said a written order will be issued written by Brant that information be provided to the  judge by Jan. 9. If this does not happen, he will file a motion to compel town representatives to appear in court on Jan. 10 at 3 p.m. to explain their position.

Brant clarified that HPD “was not the investigating department in the case.”

“They know these things exist,” Angiulo countered. “There’s an active suspension of an officer.”

Added Angiulo: “Let them come in and say, ‘This is all we have.’ Then we’ll figure it out from there.”

The Independent reached out to both Brant and Angiulo by phone seeking comment but did not get a response.

In May, 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, according to Brant.

Later in May, Brennan was placed on paid administrative leave. No details were released about the reason by the town because it is a personnel matter.

In the past few hearings, defense attorney Leonardo Angiulo said he believed that the alleged victim in the case has been in communication with Brennan from the time he was the SRO through the time her case against Porter moved forward. In addition to Brennan’s work phone records, he also sought information from an investigation into Brennan’s professional conduct that the town authorized an independent party to conduct.

Brant also previously said he wanted to review Brennan’s work and cell phone records.

On Oct. 28, the Independent published an article after a report from an investigation commissioned by the town showed that Brennan had previous knowledge of the accusations against Porter but failed to report them to the department. The report detailed 11 instances in which Brennan’s conduct violated the HPD’s rules, regulations, policies, procedures and special orders.

2 Comments

  1. Owen

    Thank you for focusing on news, not noise. A real breath of fresh air. It’s great that Hopkinton has a professional, high-quality newspaper.

  2. Perch

    Owen, so true. Unbiased coverage of local happenings with highly educated reporters who go on location in person or hybrid to town committee meetings covering the facts and send out a reporter in person consistently to cover a story like this one that was at the Woburn Court House.