Baker Says Top State Police Brass Left Posts Amid ‘TrooperGate’ Fallout “On Their Own”

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BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker emphatically denied on Monday that his administration played any role in the recent departures of the State Police’s top two officials amid the filing of twin federal lawsuits alleging they played a role in scrubbing away explosive details appearing in the arrest report of a Worcester County judge’s daughter.

During Boston Public Radio’s “Ask the Governor” segment, Baker told WGBH hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan that outgoing State Police Superintendent Colonel Richard McKeon and his second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Hughes, said the two “made that decision on their own.”

“Our review, we basically concluded that the colonel had made a mistake by getting involved in this and that we believed the observation reports, which is the reprimand that went in the jackets of the two troopers, needed to come out,” Baker said. “And in addition we felt there needed to be a review of the actual process and protocol that’s used by the State Police to make decisions about editing arrest reports.”

Braude then asked, “so you didn’t push them out the door, their resignations were on their own?”

“Yup,” Baker answered.

The Worcester-based Turtleboy Sports blog was the first to break the story involving the arrest of 30-year-old Alli Bibaud, daughter of Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud. State Police sources told the blog that orders came from the upper reaches of law enforcement to redact portions of the arrest report filed by troopers Ryan Sceviour and Ali Rei. The redacted info apparently included Alli Bibaud allegedly offering Sceviour sexual favors in return for leniency, informing police of her father’s judgeship, and making the unprompted admission that she obtained the heroin found in her possession in exchange for performing various sex acts.

Days later, Fox 25 followed up on the Turtleboy Sports report, but focused its report on the reprimands handed down to troopers over the decision to include Bibaud’s admissions in her arrest report. Sceviour and Rei subsequently sued the Massachusetts State Police, as well as McKeon, Major Barbara Anderson, and a host of unknown John/Jane Does involved in law enforcement. 

Baker previously said he believes McKeon’s apparent claim that he ordered the arrest report redaction without any prompting from either Judge Bibaud or Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early’s office, where Bibaud spent two decades working as a prosecutor. 

“Look, the colonel made very clear that he initiated this,” Baker told reporters last week. “We also made it clear that we thought it was a mistake.”

Yet on Monday, Baker offered a different answer when asked about potential involvement from Early’s office. 

“We’ve said this before — there were communications between the DA’s [Early’s] office and the State Police, we know that, and I fully expect that our investigation will certainly get to the bottom of that,” Baker said.

Baker’s latest claim, that McKeon and Hughes opted for early retirement and were in no way directed to resign from their posts, conflicts with a Turtleboy Sports report citing sources who told the blog that Baker asked for their resignations and was so angry after learning about the matter that he “smashed a glass on the floor.”

Baker’s appointment to replace McKeon, Lieutenant Kerry Gilpen, has ordered an internal affairs investigation into the matter. 

Challenging Baker’s assertion that McKeon and Hughes acted by themselves to retire from the State Police will be difficult journalistically, however, as the governor’s office has declared itself exempt from public records laws. Moreover, the Boston Globe reported last week that a panel of lawmakers assigned nearly a year ago to examine whether executive offices such as Baker’s, in addition to the state Legislature, are exempt from public records laws has yet to hold a single meeting, despite the fact that the group is due to deliver a final report by the end of the calendar year.

On Friday Attorney General Maura Healey confirmed to the Globe that the governor’s office is exempt from public records laws after Baker’s administration refused to share with the newspaper records of constituents’ calls. 

Baker also told Braude and Eagan that he did not direct Gilpen to launch the internal investigation, saying that it was her decision.