By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The truth about Glenn Marshall

This past Monday, Peter Kenney reported on his blog that Glenn Marshall, a leader of the Mashpee Wampanoags and the prime mover behind the proposed Middleborough casino, may have lied about his record as a war hero in the Marines — a record that purportedly included five Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. I didn’t link to it before today because I was uncomfortable with Kenney’s decision not to try to reach Marshall for comment. But now it’s all coming out — and it’s even worse than Kenney initially reported.

The Cape Cod Times today publishes a headline for the ages: “Marshall’s record includes rape, lies.” The story, by George Brennan, reports that Marshall “raped a 22-year-old visitor to the Cape in the summer of 1980, according to court records and the Times’ archive.” Marshall was sentenced to five years in state prison, but served just three months — in part because his lawyer cited his alleged war heroism and the trauma he had suffered.

Oh, yes. About that war record: Marshall has claimed several times, including in an appearance at a congressional hearing in 2004, that he fought at Khe Sahn during the Vietnam War. Brennan reports that it now turns out Marshall was a senior at Lawrence High School, in Falmouth, during Khe Sahn.

What does Marshall have to say about all this? “Repeated attempts to reach Marshall yesterday through a tribe spokesman and on his cell phone were unsuccessful,” Brennan writes. “Tribe spokesman Scott Ferson said Marshall would have not comment until today.” I can’t wait.

Question: What do you suppose the Middleborough selectmen would have done a few months ago if they knew they were negotiating with a convicted rapist who’d lied about his war record?

Question: What do you suppose Middleborough voters would have done if they knew about this before approving a casino deal with Marshall in July?

I don’t imagine Marshall’s being exposed constitutes legal grounds to undo the vote. But certainly it’s all the more reason for Gov. Deval Patrick and other state officials to stop this insanity now.

Let’s return to our narrative, shall we? This all began Saturday, when The Day of New London, Conn., published a profile of Marshall. Written by Patricia Daddona, the story included this, in the second paragraph: “The former U.S. Marine, fisherman and self-described man of ‘the woods, weeds or water’ earned five Purple Hearts and a Silver Star in three tours of duty in Vietnam.”

Daddona also quoted Adam Bond, the Middleborough selectman who has worked most closely with Marshall, as saying:

I think Glenn Marshall is what you see: there’s not a deception, it’s not a façade. He strikes me as a professional, intelligent leader. Like everyone else, he has a little bit of the politician in him. That’s not a bad thing — to put on the right suit for the right occasion.

Enter Peter Kenney. On Monday, the “Great Gadfly,” as he calls himself, blogging on Cape Cod Today, wrote that there was no record of Marshall’s ever having won a Purple Heart (never mind five of them) or a Silver Star. He seemed to have the goods, but, as I said, I hesitated because of the way Kenney ended his item: “No effort has been made yet to contact Marshall or tribal spokesman, Mr. Ferson of Boston.”

Kenney was back yesterday with another must-read story. This time, he said he made several attempts to talk with Marshall and/or Ferson, and that Ferson refused on the grounds that Kenney is not a journalist. Well, Kenney deserves huge kudos — he drove this story, and it’s doubtful that the truth about Marshall would have come out were it not for Kenney’s work. For good measure, Kenney levels an accusation that, so far, the media have not followed up on — that there is also no record of Marshall’s having served as a police officer with the MDC, as has been claimed.

Finally, what is the deal with those medals? The Day runs an odd follow-up, also written by Daddona, that includes this:

Marshall’s legal adviser and lobbyist, James Morris, supplied the information about Marshall’s medals during an in-person interview with Marshall in Boston. Morris is a lawyer with Quinn & Morris of Boston.

Marshall and Morris were with the reporter for three hours in private and Statehouse interviews. Marshall was leaving the room at the tribe’s public relations firm, The Liberty Square Group, and did not appear to be aware of Morris’ disclosure. Morris, who said Marshall is sensitive about discussing his war record, wrote the information down in the reporter’s notebook.

Marshall did not personally inform The Day of the details of his military service for the Aug. 18 story.

So it sounds like it’s still to be determined whether Marshall ever personally claimed to have earned the Purple Hearts or the Silver Star. As Brennan notes in his Times story, if he did, he could go to prison for six months.

Daddona also has another priceless quote from Adam Bond:

I don’t believe that that has any bearing on the negotiations he had with the town and the sincerity and honesty with which he dealt with us. And until I see something more, I don’t think there’s anything more I can say about it. But I’m not uncomfortable. I still trust the man.

Presumably Bond’s assessment was based solely on the news that Marshall had lied about his military record, not about the rape, which The Day doesn’t mention. But it’s been obvious from the beginning that Bond has been in way over his head.

Scott Van Voorhis reports in the Boston Herald on efforts by the Massachusetts Council of Churches, as well as civic leaders like former attorney general Scott Harshbarger and former John Hancock chief executive David D’Alessandro (who wrote this Globe op-ed recently), to prevent a casino from being built anywhere in the state.

I’d say their efforts just got a major boost.

Update: Adam Bond doesn’t care about the rape conviction, either, according to this story in The Enterprise of Brockton. Bond: “I think it is irrelevant to the issues. This is about the man. It is not about the casino.” Amazing. (Via “Gladys Kravitz,” who also posts a hilarious photo illustration.)

Afternoon update: Marshall’s out, the Boston Globe reports. “Like a lot of veterans from that era, I realize I have my own demons that I need to deal with,” he’s quoted as saying. Really.

This isn’t close to being over. If Shawn Hendricks, who’s replacing Marshall, and Adam Bond think they can just pick up and move forward on the casino, they’re mistaken.

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  1. Neil

    Wow Dan.How long before we hear: Anyone who questions Marshall’s war record is a racist.I notice theDay story lists Marshall’s age as 59, not 57. I wonder where they got 59? If he’s 59, he’d have been 19 or 20 in Spring of ’68 and the Khe Sanh arithmetic might have have added up. But he’s not 59, he’s 57.There’s a lot of this going around. I notice it because I’m just at the age–if I hear anyone close in age to me who claimed to have been in Vietnam it gets my antenna up. It’s surprising because it’s so easy to check first of all, simply by comparing people’s ages to the dates of the Vietnam war.Another, less blatant though perhaps more shameful case, was uncovered last year–Paul Morin the national commander of the American Legion, claimed to be a “Vietnam veteran” when the closest he got to Vietnam was Fort Dix, NJ. He exploited a classification the military uses–the “Vietnam era” veteran, for the purposes of determining benefits, to refer to himself in this misleading, self-serving way. He was too young to have been in Vietnam. My brother likewise has “Vietnam” on his military grave marker meaning, was in the service between ’64 and ’75, and the closest he got to Vietnam was Rekjavik, Iceland. At least he never claimed to be a Vietnam vet though.These guys are a disgrace.

  2. Anonymous

    Dan, Great Gadfly here—-I agree; it is about the man, not the casino. In this case the man is a lying rapist.The horor stories about Marshall’s mistreatment of his onw tribe’s members and his general character make it clear that he is a power freak, a fascist. I havwe only begun digging into this guy’s past.’Nuff said.Peter Kenney

  3. Rick in Duxbury

    From Peter Kenney’s blog: “One other person familiar with Marshall says she has often heard his story of being wounded in the knee while saving ‘four or five other guys’.” Wounded Knee? You couldn’t make this stuff up….

  4. Peter Porcupine

    From the Herald -“In a statement, Hendricks said the tribe will continue to pursue a Middleboro casino and next week will file an application to put Wampanoag-owned land in Mashpee and Middleboro into a federal trust. Putting the land into a trust is another step toward sovereignty, which would allow the tribe to construct a resort-style casino, even without state approval.”The vote was with a Soverign Nation, not an individual. Labor Day is coming, and Gov. Patrick sees the train leaving the station. The vote will be upheld, as the greedy on Bacon Hill don’t want an independent trough operating in the state.

  5. o-fish-l

    Jeesh. With all this hoopla, you’d think Glen Marshall got drunk, drowned a young girl, fled the scene and served 45+ years in the US Senate or something. Oops, I forgot to mention the $25 fine.These red herrings (Marshall’s ancient criminal record, Lt. Gates property ownership etc.) serve only to expose that the anti-casino forces have no real, credible arguments. Oddly,the opponents of Middleborough use only personal attacks when there are plenty of factual reasons to oppose casino gambling in general.By the way, how did this criminal record info get out? I thought Duval thought it was cruel to release criminal offender record information (CORI) and had sought to keep such matters “private”, no?

  6. Don (no longer) Fluffy

    So, Glenn Marshall has John Kerry’s Disease. Hmmm. . . .

  7. Dan Kennedy

    I shouldn’t even bother, but just to point out:- Kerry claimed he won a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts. Guess what? He did.- Marshall — or, rather, an associate — claimed he won a Silver Star and five Purple Hearts. Guess what? He didn’t.Now, I don’t want to make this too difficult, Fluffy, but do you see the difference here? Even if you don’t think Kerry deserved them?

  8. Don (no longer) Fluffy

    Bingo! (No, that’s not a casino reference.) Just trying to stir somebody up. My bad.

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