Mayor Kim Janey is baffled that a former Boston police officer and union chief who is charged with molesting multiple children reportedly first faced child abuse allegations back in the mid-1990s.
Patrick Rose Sr., 66, a retired officer and the one-time president of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, was initially charged last August when a father and his teenage daughter reported that the girl had been repeatedly molested by Rose from age 7 through 12.
Within weeks, five more people came forward to accuse Rose of molesting them as children.
The Boston Globe reported over the weekend that the Boston Police Department in 1995 filed a criminal complaint against Rose for sexual assault on a 12-year-old child.
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The criminal complaint was eventually dropped, but an internal investigation concluded that Rose likely committed a crime. He was allowed to stay on the force, and was often sent to respond to cases involving children.
Boston police have refused to release records pertaining to the 1995 case and it remains unclear what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against Rose at that time.
"It is baffling that officer Rose was allowed to remain on the force for over two decades and ultimately led the patrolmen’s union," Janey said in a statement Monday. "I was deeply disturbed to learn that there was no effort to prevent Rose from coming into contact with other minors after such serious charges were found to be credible by BPD’s own internal affairs probe of the original allegations in 1995."
According to Janey's statement, she has instructed the City's Law Department, as counsel for the Boston Police Department, to immediately review Rose's internal affairs file.
She said any information that could compromise the identities of victims of sexual assault and domestic violence would be redacted, in keeping with the law, but that there is an equally compelling obligation to ensure transparency with the public because withholding information only serves to erode the public's trust.
Janey said she has asked that the review and redaction happen as quickly as possible so that the file can be released to the public.
"Transparency and accountability are foundational values when it comes to fostering public trust, and this is especially true for law enforcement," Janey said.
Rose has pleaded not guilty to 33 total charges involving six alleged victims and is being held on $200,000 cash bail.
"My client maintains his innocence to all of the charges that have been brought against him and he maintains his innocence to what was alleged to have transpired back in 1995," his attorney, William J. Keefe, said.
The Boston Police Department in a statement said it was legally prohibited from commenting "on the facts and circumstances of the 1995 investigation of these horrific allegations."
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement she found it troubling that Boston police did not properly discipline Rose or restrict his access to children.
"The allegations from decades ago are an example of how systems can fail people," Rollins said.
Boston's police department has a history of protecting officers from accountability, particularly if they are white, like Rose, said retired deputy superintendent Willie Bradley.
"The police department's refusal to actually deal with this issue is a direct contributor to what happened," Bradley, who is Black and now a lecturer and professor at multiple area colleges, told The Boston Globe. "It would have been out there and people would have been aware of it, but they hid it."
For her part, Janey, who has pledged to bring a new era of transparency and accountability to city government, says her administration is doubling down on work to implement police reform and to stand up Boston’s Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT).
OPAT will have the authority to review all internal affairs cases, in addition to holding subpoena power to compel the release of records and enhance accountability when necessary, according to Janey.
The acting mayor says she looks forward to announcing the executive director of OPAT in the coming days, and she will outline her plan for significant funding and resources to support the establishment of OPAT when the Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal is released on Wednesday.