Over the past two months, multiple members of the FU team, as well an an investigative journalist at WBUR, have been filing public records requests to get the Town of Natick to admit to what we all believe to be true – Natick protects sexual predators in public safety positions.
If you haven’t read about Officer Jamie Quilty – he has already cost town taxpayers a buttload of dollars as the civilian dispatcher who he fondled has sued the town and settled out for a hefty sum of money. She is currently working in a neighboring town in a new role, serving the public.
Her attacker however is still working for the town of Natick as a cop, enforcing laws. Under a top secret agreement – the town in writing states that he committed a fireable offense but is agreeing to give him one last chance. This agreement can be seen in the link below. If you have already read it, skip down and read about the other public safety officer who has committed sexual assaults – in multiple.
Michael Abbruzzese, a young Natick firefighter, was recently suspended, with pay, after we reported that he has been involved in disfigurement attacks on multiple women over the last several years. The town knew about charges being filed, as they were filed in June with the Natick Police Department. These charges went nowhere, and he was actively working in public safety – until we reported on him.
We go into detail on him, his connections, and the lack of action in our reporting on him in the link below. If you have already read that, skip down and read about the public records requests.
The Town of Natick has been throwing road blocks in our efforts to obtain documentation from the town. Since September 1, we have had to file 15 appeals to the state on public records requests that have been completely ignored. Todd Wallack of WBUR – he has had to file 5. Of these 20 appeals the state has rendered determinations on 6 of them. In all six cases, the Town was notified of the appeal being filed by the Secretary of State’s office, and the town went dark, ignoring the state’s requests for updates. Because the town chose to ignore the state – the state has ordered the town to issue a “response to the request, provided in a manner consistent with this order, the Public Records Law and its Regulations within 10 business days.”
Click to enlarge the appeal determination pages below to see the subject matter of what has been requested. The actions taken by the town – to willingly ignore media requests, and ignore the state, in regards to public safety officials – should be highly concerning to all residents.
On June 11th we asked the town of Natick for the internal affairs file and a few weeks later the external investigation files into whether Quilty violated the sexual harassment rules of the Town of Natick. After rounds and rounds of appeals, the town decided that the only way they could not release the file – was to create a means to take the file out of the public eye for an indefinite period of time.
On August 19th, in executive session the Select Board voted “to investigate charges of criminal misconduct or to consider the filing of criminal complaints.” It is is our understanding that a simple vote, reopened the criminal complaint on Quilty.
A week after that vote on August 19th, on August 26th, the town of Natick responded to our appeal denying us the records. In this new response from the town, there were now suddenly “Additional Grounds for Withholding Responsive Records”.
It would appear that out of the blue, the town became aware of that the criminal investigation into the officer has not actually closed, therefore could not be released because that could affect the current investigation.
What really happened, is that the town was about to have to turn over records, because we had requested the right thing, using the right terminology, and had fought, arguing our case so well that there was no legitimate reason they could continue withholding. Then someone hatched a plan. They decided to open or reopen a “criminal investigation” into a matter that had been closed, the external law firm investigation complete, the secret agreement signed, the suspension served, the lawsuit settled, the victim’s payout made, and the officer now back at work, and after all this, the investigation reopened.
The story is not over. Our battle continues – the question is whether the town will ignore the next step laid out by the Secretary of State’s office.
On 9/9/21, we won “in camera review” with the Quilty file. Per the letter below, this means that without delay the town must turn over the file to the Supervisor of Records at the Secretary of State’s office, where they will determine if in fact the records are subject to being with held.
This last step could take some time. In the mean time – residents may want to call the town to demand answers. Some of their contact info is below.
Email: [email protected]
Board of Selectmen’s Office
Email: [email protected]
Communications / Information Officer
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