A Police Union Coverup in Boston

Bostonians were shocked last summer when former Boston Police Union chief Patrick Rose was arrested on 33 cases of child sexual abuse. The consternation increased when it became clear that Mr. Rose’s behavior had been known for years and that officials helped keep it a secret. This may have included Marty Walsh, the former union leader, former Boston mayor and now US Secretary of Labor.

Mr. Rose served with the Boston Police Department for 24 years prior to his arrest, including three years as director of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association. In 1995 he was charged with the sexual abuse of a child and placed in the administrative service. The Boston Globe reports that prosecutors dropped the charges in 1996 when the prosecutor “retracted his story under pressure from Rose”.

However, a subsequent internal affairs investigation that same year found that the charges were “pending”. The Globe reports that state child welfare investigators also investigated the allegation and found “reasonable grounds to believe” that a child was molested.

It is not clear how the police reacted to these results. In 1997, a police union lawyer sent the police inspector a letter complaining that Mr. Rose had been limited to administrative duties for two years and threatened to complain. Mr. Rose was then reinstated as a patrol officer and allowed contact with children. According to the prosecutor, he sexually abused at least five other minors, including when he was union president from 2014 to 2017. Mr. Rose has pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Rose will get his day in court, but Mr. Walsh’s role needs more attention. After Mr. Rose’s arrest last summer, Globus filed for the official’s internal affairs file, which contained details of the 1995 indictment, internal investigation and union response. The Walsh administration refused to release the file, saying the records could not be edited to address privacy concerns.

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