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Investigation Finds Former State Police Head Was Wrong To Order Revision Of Arrest Report

Former state police Colonel Richard McKeon answers questions at the State House last year. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Former state police Colonel Richard McKeon answers questions at the State House last year. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Massachusetts' attorney general says no criminal charges will be filed related to the removal of embarrassing details from the police report about the arrest of a judge's daughter, while an outside investigation found the former head of the state police was wrong to order the revision of the report.

Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement Friday that her office conducted an investigation and found "the evidence does not support criminal charges against any of the parties involved," though there are concerns about possible civil ethics violations.

Also Friday, state police released the report detailing the conclusions of an outside investigation of the incident. The investigators found former Massachusetts State Police Col. Richard McKeon was wrong to order the report rewritten with certain details removed, and that he shouldn't have punished the trooper who wrote the report or the sergeant who reviewed it.

McKeon, his deputy and two other top commanders from the state police retired after the trooper who wrote the report filed a federal lawsuit against the department, McKeon and others.

McKeon's successor, Col. Kerry Gilpin, asked former Essex County District Attorney Kevin Burke to look into the October arrest of Alli Bibaud, and the subsequent revision of her arrest report. Bibaud is the daughter of a judge in Dudley District Court in Worcester County.

Burke writes that McKeon's orders to revise the arrest report and punish the trooper and sergeant "were the result of flawed judgment and the lack of professional analysis of the MSP requirements for report writing, the requirements of probable cause, the requirements of the government's discovery obligations, and the conflicting advice from Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early."

It was Early was who first called McKeon on Oct. 17, the day after Bibaud was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. McKeon hadn't heard about the arrest or report before Early's call, and the DA told the colonel that he was concerned about language in the report, where Bibaud said she'd prostituted herself to get drugs.

Early had never contacted McKeon about a report before this one.

In a statement, Early said everyone in his office acted lawfully and that "all standard protocols were followed and applied appropriately as they are for all cases, including the requirement within those guidelines to avoid any public condemnation of a defendant."

McKeon ordered statements Bibaud made — about prostitution, lewd comments to troopers, and that her dad was a judge — be removed. The trooper and sergeant who reviewed the report were disciplined. Burke says both the revisions and the discipline were "unprecedented," and didn't follow state police policy or rules.

Burke adds that the trooper who wrote the report and his sergeant acted appropriately.

Burke says the Bibaud incident eroded confidence in the MSP, both within and outside the organization. He recommends more leadership training for officers, the creation of a panel to advise the colonel on management and supervision issues, and periodic management reviews by outside consultants.

"The culture of the Massachusetts State Police must be transformed starting with management," Burke wrote.

In a statement, Lizzy Guyton, the spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Baker, says the administration is working on increasing oversight and accountability within the department.

“The Administration will work with Colonel Gilpin to implement many of the recommendations made in today’s report," the statement says. "Colonel Gilpin’s decision to order this independent report is one of many steps she has initiated to restore public trust in the Department and the Administration will continue to work with her to increase accountability and oversight.”

In a letter referring the matter to the State Ethics Commission, the attorney general's office writes that McKeon, after speaking with Early, "wanted the Alli Bibaud arrest report revised."

Healey said in the statement that the revisions to the police report raise concerns about possible civil ethics violations, but her office found there was no "criminal intent to prejudice Bibaud's prosecution."

"There is no evidence that any of the revisions to the Bibaud arrest report were made with the intent to impair the prosecution of Alli Bibaud," the letter to the commission states.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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Ally Jarmanning Twitter Digital Producer
Ally is a reporter who champions data and public records in the WBUR newsroom.

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