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Wu releases information on Patrick Rose

BPD let child molester remain on force

Anna Lamb

In April Patrick M. Rose, Sr., a former Boston Police officer and former president of the patrolmen’s union pled guilty to molesting six children in a period of more than two decades — raising questions of how a department tasked with protecting the public could let one of their own get away with such blatant misconduct all while remaining on the force.

A 2021 investigation by the Boston Globe revealed that an internal probe by BPD back when the first instance of abuse was reported to law enforcement in 1995, found Rose had likely committed the act but was allowed to stay on for another 20 years rising through the ranks before his retirement in 2018.

Now, the city under Mayor Michelle Wu has released official documents in relation to the Rose case as her administration prepares to negotiate new contracts with police unions.

“My hope is that the release of this fuller file shows the larger context and continued urgency for the city of Boston and our police department to have the authority and the resources to take urgent action when there is evidence of criminal conduct misconduct, and to be able to immediately terminate officers after a violation of the public trust has been found.”

Despite the mayor’s push for openness, however, the city’s investigation did not reveal who in the police department approved re-instating Rose as an officer after he was suspended or why that decision was made. That decision was apparently undocumented by city and police officials. Released records show no remediation or other documentation of decision making by higher ups.

“A horrible injustice took place in Boston here. And these documents, although they don’t answer every question that we have, we believe that in fact, no documentation exists, to answer those questions,” Wu said Thursday.

The files the city released included a timeline of Rose’s wrongdoing and subsequent career, fully redacted witness interviews accompanying accusations and documentation of communications between BPD and the Office of Labor Relations placing Rose on administrative leave.

Wu made a point Thursday to say that while the documents give a fuller picture of the incident, the city has also made strategic decisions to protect the privacy of victims.

“These redactions represent only those made specifically to protect the victim’s identity and privacy and uphold other statutory confidentiality requirements,” Wu said.

Rose, who was charged with Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14 in November of 1995, underwent a criminal investigation by the department, and as a condition of the charge underwent court-ordered therapy.

In May of 1996, the criminal charges were dismissed, and a subsequent internal investigation was opened by the department who had sustained the allegations against the officer. For at least two years, Rose was placed on administrative duties and had his firearm privileges revoked.

Released documentation shows subsequent efforts to reinstate Rose including a 1997 letter from attorney Thomas Drechsler of the law firm Finneran, Byrne, Drechsler & O’Brien — counsel to the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association and members facing discipline — in which he argues that an affidavit from the victim and the victim’s guardian disavows any allegations of sexual misconduct by Rose.

Drechsler wrote, “in light of the affidavit [by the victim] . . . I would request that my client be put back on full duty forthwith.”

Dreschler now serves as a superior court judge.

Further efforts to reinstate Rose include another 1997 letter, this one from attorney Alan Shapiro of the law firm Sandulli, Grace, Shapiro, Horwitz, & Davidson P.C. on behalf of the patrolman’s union to then Police Commissioner Paul Evans, arguing that keeping Rose on administrative leave was causing financial hardship in the form of lost wages from missed court and overtime duty.

Rose was re-instated in 1998.

The mayor repeatedly told reporters that it is her utmost priority to ensure that a situation like Rose’s does not repeat — despite a failure to provide key insights into how the mechanism of a police department with little accountability to the public protects officers accused of wrongdoing.

“I think many of the lessons I draw from this are about the need for different structures, as well as different authorities,” Wu said, before pointing to her agenda of reforming the BPD collective bargaining process.

“The intent to secure authority and come to agreement with the Union regarding procedures for moving on the types of allegations and charges that clearly disqualify someone from serving as a police officer need to be embedded in that contract and in the culture of how we arrive at disciplinary decisions and potential termination for the city,” she said.

Rose is currently serving at least a decade in prison for 27 counts of abuse.

Boston Police Department, Patrick Rose