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Ethics Commission Says Worcester DA Violated Law In Ordering Changes To An Arrest Report

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early allegedly violated state ethics laws by ordering a prosecutor to alter a police report on the arrest of a judge's daughter, according to a State Ethics Commission's enforcement division.

The commission alleges that Early, former Massachusetts State Police Col. Richard McKeon and other law enforcement officials worked to change the police report by removing sexually explicit comments made by Alli Bibaud, daughter of Judge Timothy Bibaud, when she was arrested and charged with operating under the influence in 2017.

According to the commission report, Worcester County Senior First Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Travers notified Early that the report contained sexually explicit statements made by Alli Bibaud during her arrest, and that she told police her father was a judge. The Commission also alleges that Early then told former State Police Colonel Richard McKeon to revise the report, and that Early instructed Travers to try to replace the original report at the Worcester District Court Clerk's office.

Those actions, taken by Early, Travers, McKeon and former State Police Major Susan Anderson, violated conflict of interest laws, according to the commission's statement.

"The conflict of interest law prohibits public employees from using or attempting to use their official positions to obtain an unwarranted privilege that is not properly available," said the Commission statement. "Early, Travers, McKeon, and Anderson allegedly violated this section of the law by using their positions cause the arrest report to be revised or replaced, as the removal of the sexually explicit statements and other embarrassing statements would be an unwarranted privilege for the judge and his daughter. This privilege would not be properly available to other people in similar situations."

The Ethics Commission will hold public hearings on the allegations within 90 days.

Early said he acted appropriately as a prosecutor.

"As DA, I am supposed to take steps to prevent the law enforcement officers with whom we work from making statements that will be publicly disseminated in the media that hold defendants up to ridicule and affect their right to a fair trial," Early said in a statement. "I adhered to those ethical rules in this situation and will continue to do so, just as I have throughout my tenure. I look forward to a public hearing."

Early and the state police settled a lawsuit over the arrest report last year. Trooper Ryan Sceviour alleged that he was ordered to falsify the report and was reprimanded for including Bibaud's comments. As part of the settlement, state police said that Sceviour acted appropriately and he was awarded $40,000.

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Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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