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

The Globe’s shocking story on the Boston Police should be just the beginning

Photo (cc) 2019 by Jim.henderson

The Boston Globe’s report about a former police officer and union president accused of molesting multiple children is, to my mind, the most important and disturbing local story of at least the past several years.

According to the Globe’s Andrew Ryan, the Boston Police Department concluded in 1995 that Patrick Rose had most likely committed sexual assault against a 12-year-old boy, upholding the alleged victim’s complaint even though he ultimately decided against pressing charges. The information was covered up, and Rose went on to be accused of molesting six children between the ages of 7 and 16 — including the daughter of the original complainant.

Rose, who faces 33 criminal counts, was also allowed to respond to calls involving children who had been sexually abused. He was later elected president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.

The Globe’s shocking story should be just the beginning. Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh refused to release records that might shed light on the investigation into Rose’s behavior. If Acting Mayor Kim Janey is legally free to reverse Walsh’s decision, she should do so immediately.

And let’s hope that Ryan’s story is just the first blow. No doubt the Globe is going to push this as hard as they can. We also need an independent investigation, possibly by the federal government. It all has to come out.

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  1. Marcus J Breen

    Dan: what has to come out is a detailed critique of the Boston Police Department. The Rose case is appalling, yet more of the same obfuscation and absence of transparency and justice. The public needs less rhetoric from elected officials while the police maintain an impenetrable wall of brotherly silence. This model is in play all across Massachusetts and the country – it is unacceptable in a democracy to have a publicly funded organization unanswerable to the public or to elected officials.

    I would add that the appointment of the Boston Police Commissioner by Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was an indicator of his shoddy work – I suspect that Walsh would not have been nominated for Labor Secretary if the story had broken a month earlier – as well as the power the police have over elected officials. You could include that as part of the coverage the Globe has been pretty thorough in reporting.

    Why not go further? The US Department of Justice should investigate the Boston Police Department.

  2. I am wondering what the difference is between an enabler and an accessory — for me, I’m not sure it’s enough to know who knew what when — people whose inaction or failure to perform their disciplinary duties should be held to some kind of account for their role in such an apparent (lack of) meaningful response to something so terrible, it seems to me, when the problem apparently continued. Haven’t we seen this pattern before?

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