A Worcester assistant district attorney was recently transferred to a different court by the district attorney for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, but are apparently related to a video-recorded incident involving the assistant DA and a Worcester police sergeant. According to media reports, the incident may have been some sort of sexual or romantic encounter between the two, but Police Chief Gary Gemme has denied this.
Here’s Worcester Magazine on the incident:
Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early has transferred an employee from Worcester Superior Court to a district court outside the city, but he is not saying why. The move is believed to be related to an alleged incident involving an assistant district attorney and a Worcester police officer in a room inside the courthouse. What exactly transpired between the two is where the details start to get fuzzy, but Police Chief Gary Gemme acknowledges there is a tape of the incident. At the same time, Gemme is shooting down rumors of a sexual encounter between the two individuals, whose identities neither the chief nor the DA revealed
“We heard the rumors and there’s a lot of innuendo and plenty of exaggeration,” Gemme tells Worcester Magazine. “There was no sexual activity, no sexual content.”
He says there is video footage of whatever happened between the DA’s employee and the officer, but says he has not seen it.
“I had a high-ranking police official review the tape,” the chief says, not naming the official. “Based on his report there was no sexual activity or content. It’s really just an exaggeration.”
Saying again there was no sexual content on the tape, Gemme was asked whether the individuals on the tape were observed kissing or in any way being physically affectionate.
“I don’t want to get into anything specific,” he says. He was also asked to confirm speculation that the two individuals on the tape were married to other people. “That’ s not a question that I would really want to address.”
Whatever occurred, Gemme says, “We’re going to treat it as a personal matter. We’re still addressing it.”
He did say based on what he has learned so far he does not anticipate discipline rising to the level of a termination or suspension. “I don’t want to pre-judge anything, because we are looking at it.”
And here’s Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson:
In an interview Tuesday, Early declined to comment about the sexual incident but confirmed that he transferred the female assistant district attorney to a suburban district court last week. She had been an assistant DA in Worcester for three years, and had reportedly submitted her name for a judgeship.
“If there’s a personnel matter that needs to be addressed, we would address it internally,” Early said. “If we have a problem we deal with it. People are held to standards and make mistakes and we deal with it.”
He added, “In this office as with life, things seem to come in cycles. It’s a roller coaster. You have your ups, you have your downs.”
Last month would perhaps be considered a down cycle. On Sept. 18, the ADA was reportedly captured on videotape in a romantic tryst with a detective sergeant in a conference room linked to Courtroom No. 20. Both are married to other people and have young children.
The incident in the conference room has been the focus of intense gossip at the courthouse and beyond for weeks. While some employees have seemed eager to engage in speculation, many others say the parties involved are well-liked and well-respected.
“We’re just hoping it goes away,” one employee said.
Still others expressed surprise that the parties would risk being caught on videotape. While the tape is reportedly in the custody of the state Trial Court, Jeff Morrow, director of security for the Trial Court, declined to discuss the incident or elaborate on the video system.
“Video surveillance is commonly used for enhanced security throughout the commonwealth,” he said.
This newspaper decided not to publish the names of the parties involved. While their behavior may be considered inappropriate or untoward, they’re consenting adults who committed no crime… [They] are highly regarded employees who may fall under the category of good people doing dumb things.
It’s not known if Police Chief Gary Gemme intends to take action against his sergeant, as neither he nor his spokesman returned phone calls this week. Nor is it clear why he would insist in another publication that “no sexual activity or content” was captured on the tape when the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.
I’m going to have to disagree with the idea that this is just a “personal matter” or a just “consenting adults who committed no crime.” If a prosecutor was involved in some sort of romantic or sexual relationship with a police sergeant, the integrity of any trials these two were both involved in would be completely compromised. If this officer ever testified in a case this assistant district attorney was prosecuting, there would be an obvious conflict of interest.
An incident like this isn’t a joke. This deserves an independent investigation to determine if the relationship between these two might have prejudiced the results of any of this prosecutor’s convictions.