Boston releases more documents on Patrick Rose, the ex-police officer convicted of molesting children
The city of Boston, which has faced a lawsuit and criticism for withholding documents about a prominent former police officer convicted of raping children, released hundreds of additional pages about its investigation on Thursday.
But Mayor Michelle Wu said none of the documents explain why the Boston Police Department kept Patrick Rose on for more than two decades after he was first credibly accused of sexually assaulting a child. Rose later rose to become head of one of the key police unions in the city.
The new documents released Thursday included portions of a heavily redacted 98-page investigative file into Rose, who was charged with sexually abusing a child in 1995.
The criminal charges were dropped after the victim recanted, but an internal investigation found Rose likely sexually assaulted the child. Wu says those were grounds to fire Rose. But she said the investigative file did not explain why Rose wasn't fired or disciplined.
"To the best of our knowledge, no such city documentation exists," she told the council.
Rose went on to lead the city's largest police union, the Boston Police Patrolmen's Union. He retired in 2018.
"Some of the questions that drive the push for fuller transparency in this particularly horrific situation are not fully answered," Wu told reporters Thursday. "Namely, who might have been involved or took specific action to reinstate Patrick Rose in full to his job as a police officer."
Rose pleaded guilty in April to 21 counts of child rape and sexual assault for abusing six children over a 27-year period. A judge sentenced him to at least 10 years in prison followed by 10 years probation.
The city previously found the police department should have done more to protect the public after initial claims were made against Rose in 1995.
Wu said the department's investigation was thorough and noted that it confirmed the allegations against Rose. But Wu said Rose lingered on desk duty for almost two years afterward. During that time, lawyers for Rose and the police union fought for him to get his job back. Rose's lawyer submitted an affidavit seemingly from the victim, recanting their claims of abuse.
Without explanation, the department put him back on the street.
"It doesn't seem like there's a single point of culpability here," Wu said, "but a system that failed in many ways."
She reiterated her calls for a union contract that shortens the timelines for internal investigations, something the city's unions have also publicly supported.
Previously, just 13 pages of the Rose investigative file had been released, by former acting Mayor Kim Janey. The Globe filed a lawsuit seeking the full file last year. And both Janey and Wu have faced questions about why they have withheld most of the files.
The documents Wu released Thursday were heavily redacted, including all interviews and communications with the alleged victim and witnesses. The city cited a state law designed to protect the privacy of victims. Separately, the courts have ruled that police misconduct investigations are generally public.
"There is no case law clarifying how to draw the line between those competing legal obligations," she told the city council.