State Police Major Named In “TrooperGate” Lawsuit Denies Conspiracy Allegations

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2017/12/22/state-police-major-named-in-troopergate-lawsuit-denies-conspiracy-allegations/

 

BOSTON — State Police Major Susan Anderson, named last month in a state trooper’s lawsuit alleging she and other top officials conspired to scrub embarrassing details from the arrest report of a judge’s daughter, issued a series of denials Friday in her response to the complaint — including a flat refutation of the eye-popping claim that the order to alter the report came from Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett.

Anderson specifically denied telling State Trooper Jeffrey Gilbert, the union representative for the arresting officer who filed the federal complaint, State Trooper Ryan Sceviour, “this is an order, Jeff, we all have bosses,” referring to Bennett.

Reached Friday, Sceviour’s attorney, Leon H. Kesten, disputed Anderson’s assertion. 

“We have two eyewitnesses who said she did,” Kesten told New Boston Post. “My client stands by his statement.”

Sceviour’s lawsuit claims Anderson conspired with former Superintendent Colonel Richard D. McKeon and others to “enter into an agreement to coerce Trooper Sceviour to produce an altered report regarding the arrest” of 30-year-old Alli Bibaud, daughter of Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud.

Sceviour in his report claims he responded the night of October 16 to a car accident north of Worcester on Interstate 190, where he encountered a visibly impaired Bibaud. Bibaud proceeded to fail several field sobriety tests while Sceviour later discovered heroin inside Bibaud’s car. According to Sceviour, his original report alleged Bibaud informed officers of her father’s judgeship, propositioned Sceviour sexually in exchange for leniency, and offered without prompting that she had performed sexual favors in order to secure the heroin in her possession.

Sceviour claims he faced a reprimand for including the lurid details and was ordered to sign off on an edited version of the report. At one point during his interaction with Anderson, Sceviour claims, he told her that scrubbing the details from his report would be “morally vacant,” a detail Anderson denies.

Anderson also denies that Sceviour was forced to alter his report and that he was barred from noting in his report that revisions were made in response to direct orders from his superiors, including herself. 

Anderson in addition denies that her actions damaged Sceviour’s reputation.

Anderson did not deny, however, Sceviour’s recollection that he told another one of his superiors — who instructed him to edit his report or risk facing a reprimand — “if this was some random person and not a judge’s kid, none of this would be happening.”

She also admitted in her answer to directing Sceviour to alter his report but denied ordering him to “eliminate relevant and incriminating statements made by Ms. Bibaud from the report.”  

A key detail that emerged earlier this month following a records request made by the Boston Herald is that Anderson was apparently informed via a text message to her department-issued cell phone of Bibaud’s arrest approximately 36 minutes after Sceviour submitted her arrest report. The records do not, however, include any text messages sent by Anderson to McKeon.

Governor Charlie Baker, meanwhile, has staunchly opposed any notions that his administration — including Bennett — played any role in the altering of Bibaud’s arrest report. Baker has maintained that McKeon and his second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Hughes, made the decision “on their own” to scrub away the embarrassing details.

Soon after Sceviour filed his complaint, the drug recognition expert involved in Bibaud’s arrest, State Trooper Ali Rei, filed her own federal complaint. Soon after that, McKeon and Hughes filed for retirement.

Records obtained by the Herald show that the 62-year-old McKeon traded in his unused vacation and sick days for a $161,688 payout, while Hughes netted $130,368. McKeon’s pension reportedly amounts to about $188,000 annually.

Anderson’s answer also stresses an “entitlement to qualified immunity,” which shields government officials — especially law enforcement officers — from civil lawsuits that fail to establish whether officials violated clearly established constitutional rights.

“The defendant has qualified immunity from this suit as the alleged acts complained of occurred within the scope of the defendant’s official duties,” Anderson’s answer maintains.

Sceviour claims, however, that Anderson and others violated his constitutional rights “by inhibiting him from following the law, by interfering with him performing the duties of his job within lawful and ethical bounds, and by disciplining him and subjecting him to adverse action for illegal, conspiratorial purposes.”

According to Kesten, McKeon is expected to submit his answer to the complaint by January 8 — with the discovery process to begin shortly afterwards.

Read copies of Sceviour’s November 28 amended lawsuit and Anderson’s December 22 response:

2017-11-28 Sceviour v Anderson by Evan on Scribd

2017-12-22 State Police Sceviour Answer by Evan on Scribd

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