HomeNewsCritics of Bennett and Ritterbusch Dominate Public Forum

Critics of Bennett and Ritterbusch Dominate Public Forum

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A protester holds a sign in support of Sgt. Tim Brennan

Tonight, in a repeat of last week’s contentious Select Board Public Forum, Hopkinton residents assembled to direct a cascade of criticism toward the Select Board over their perceived lack of action regarding Hopkinton Police Chief Joseph Bennett and Select Board Member Amy Ritterbusch’s leaking of an alleged rape victim’s confidential information, in violation of Massachusetts General Laws.

Resident Timothy Boivin pointedly asked the board “why is Police Chief Bennett still serving in his official capacity?” Boivin recounted that Bennett personally had released confidential information about the alleged victim. “The chief’s actions are inexcusable,” said Boivin.

>> WATCH: Critics of Bennett and Ritterbusch speak at Public Forum 

Resident Peter Fogg, who is a trial attorney, expressed his dismay about the Board’s handling of Brennan’s Loudermill hearing. Directing his comment to Board member Irfan Nasrullah, Fogg said “Irfan, as a fellow attorney, I would have expected to hear the words ex post facto come out of your mouth. I was ashamed on behalf of our profession that it didn’t.” Ex post facto is a Latin term that means “after the fact.” In legal contexts, it refers to laws that apply retroactively, thereby affecting actions that were taken before the law was in effect. The term is most commonly used to describe laws that would work to the disadvantage of an individual by making an action illegal that was legal when originally performed, or by altering the punishment for a crime after it has been committed. Ex post facto laws are prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. Fogg was referring to the town’s central legal argument against Brennan, in which they assert policy violations that weren’t departmental policies at the time of the alleged violations. 

Fogg continued: “We have the very real possibility of criminal charges coming down for Chief Bennett and Select Board member Amy Ritterbusch”. He cited MGL Chapter 41 97D, which makes the disclosure of a rape victim’s confidential information a crime punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year. He noted that this statue applies to police officers, and urged attendees to contact Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan to ask that charges be pursued. Ritterbusch could theoretically be charged with a violation of MGL Chapter 265 24C, which makes it a crime for anyone to disclose confidential information about a rape victim. 

Resident Jim Scanlon began reading a prepared statement, but because comments are limited to two minutes per speaker, his message was continued across several other speakers, who picked up where Scanlon left off. The message was a “Statement of Facts” that citizens had supplied to the Framingham District Clerk requesting that the Clerk and Magistrate issue a summons to Bennett and Ritterbusch to appear before the court and explain why charges should not be filed against them.

Resident Steve Snow stated that on Tuesday, February 2, he had visited HPD to report this alleged crime. A report was taken by Sgt. Aaron O’Neill, who accepted Snow’s paperwork, and Snow asked him to log the incident. Yet as of today, there is no log entry for this complaint. “I’ll follow up,” replied Chair Muriel Kramer. “We can’t trust the police department if we report something and they do nothing with it,” finished Snow.

“How do we get you to hear us?” asked exasperated resident Scott Ober. “We elected all of you.”

“Be careful, sir,” warned Kramer.

“Or what, Muriel?” replied Ober.

“Just don’t be confrontational and aggressive,” said Kramer. “Say what you came to say.”

Ober continued. “Since you all seem to care more about your personal power and agenda than the town you were elected to serve, we are going to have you all recalled. I’m hoping you will all want to avoid the embarrassment of a recall and resign, especially Amy, who committed a crime, and still sits there ready to judge Tim Brennan if and when the time comes. You should resign tonight,” he said to Ritterbusch.

When there were no more speakers, Kramer called a five minute recess, and then the meeting resumed with the planned agenda.

Earlier in the day, supporters protested in front of town hall, holding signs that read “#thankyoutim”.

“The Select Board is deaf on this issue, but they will most certainly hear the collective and thunderous voice of the town residents when they are recalled,” said Scanlon, following the meeting.

Photos courtesy of Christine Strickland

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am not a Hopkinton resident. I am an outsider looking in and I have to say…..there is something seriously wrong with the Hopkinton Board of Selectman. Are they ignorant or just plain stupid? Because they appear to be both and do not realize how ridiculous they look to the public watching them. Their arrogance is overwhelming!! When a group, in this case the Board, acts so arrogantly and dismissively, especially to the people that elected them, it looks as though there is a cover-up of some sort. People watching are not stupid and see right through the Board.

    Muriel Kramer’s response with “Be careful, sir” to a speaker was so uncalled for and out of place. Where did that comment come from? Last I checked, the First Amendment is still part of our Constitution and in more than one case Muriel Kramer tried to silence those speaking. Muriel you have no right to do so in a public forum. And why has Muriel Kramer done a complete 180 and fallen into place with the rest of the board? The Board looks like and acts like a dictatorship and shows no respect to the concerns of their residents.

    I commend everyone who spoke out against the Chief and the Board and their illegal actions. The residents were all calm and intelligent and only having 2 minutes each to speak did a phenomenal job getting the truth out. That’s what’s important here! Everything the Hopkinton residents said were facts not opinions.

    How Amy Ritterbusch could sit up on that panel, emotionless and not make eye contact with any of the speakers is beyond me. Her gaze was down the entire time as she continuously “wrote” with her pen – it looked as though she were doodling, but good way to not have to face your residents. She and probably the entire Board have something to cover or hide; perhaps Chief Bennett has something on all of them and this is the only way to save themselves – by sacrificing others. I’m not saying that is the case, I’m saying that is a possibility.

    The Board sat emotionless, even one member was falling asleep at the meeting – come on, did you think no one would notice?! In any event, the Hopkinton Board should be shaking inside and embarrassed by all of this! They can expect more than one lawsuit against Chief Bennett and Amy Ritterbusch and the entire Board for their deceit and illegal actions and are costing the town millions of dollars for sure. It is apparent the Hopkinton Board does not care about their town or their residents, but they do care about themselves – wow!!!

    Good luck to Hopkinton and its residents in cleaning up politics on the Board and police level and taking back your beautiful town. The rest of Mass is on your side! Thank you for showing what concerned citizens who care and speak out can do.

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