August 23, 2018
BRAINTREE − Two Braintree Police employees named in the investigation of the department's evidence room have retired rather than face disciplinary hearings, Mayor Joseph Sullivan said.
Deputy Police Chief Wayne Foster and Paul McSorely, the department's civilian administrative and finance director, retired effective immediately, Sullivan said on Thursday. The disciplinary hearings were scheduled for Friday, with Police Chief Paul Shastany to serve as the hearing officer. The hearings have been canceled, the mayor said.
Sullivan said Foster and McSorely decided not to contest the findings of reports by investigators for the state Attorney General's office and Kroll Associates into missing evidence from the department's evidence room.
"Mr. Foster and Mr. McSorely failed to fulfill their responsibilities as members of the Braintree Police Department and engaged in conduct that is inconsistent with the department's rules and regulations," Sullivan said in a statement. "With their retirements, this sad and difficult chapter is now closed."
The mayor declined further comment.
Investigators from the Attorney General Office found that Susan Zopatti, the department's former evidence officer, had taken drugs, money and guns from the evidence room. Zopatti used one of the missing guns to kill herself on May 19, 2016. The state investigators did not recommend any criminal charges. The investigation was hampered by the fact that information on Zopatti's phone and computer was destroyed following her death.
In all, 185 criminal cases were either dismissed by judges or dropped by prosecutors because they relied on evidence that had been tainted by the scandal. In other cases, prosecutors had to drop some charges or proceed with weaker evidence.
The investigators from Kroll Associates, headed by former Boston Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey, concluded that former Police Chief Russell Jenkins and Foster failed to properly oversee the evidence room.
"Chief Jenkins and Deputy Chief Foster repeatedly failed to supervise and implement the department's rules and regulations by not conducting the required the required audits and inspections of the evidence room," the report stated.
Jenkins abruptly retired in October, 2016 shortly after the missing evidence was disclosed, saying he was forced out by Sullivan. Foster has was placed on paid administrative leave around the same time.
McSorely was charged with mishandling forfeited cash from drug cases that the department splits with the district attorney's office. The Kroll report said McSorely would routinely send the district attorney's office its share of the money without getting the cash from Zopatti, meaning the cash was coming from the department's other accounts.