HomeNewsFrustrated Residents have their say at Public Forum

Frustrated Residents have their say at Public Forum

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On the second floor of Town Hall, Hopkinton’s Select Board assembled for their bi-weekly meeting on Tuesday, January 30.

The meeting typically attracts few residents, but tonight was a different story, as residents, frustrated by not being able to speak at Sergeant Tim Brennan’s Loudermill hearing on January 19 made their opinions known.

Finding a seat in the Select Board room was impossible, and by the time the meeting started, the room was full and Hopkinton residents overflowed into the hallway.

Today, HopNews was forwarded an email from an organization calling themselves Grassroots Advocacy Group for the Fair Treatment of Sgt. Tim Brennan that invited recipients to join them at Town Hall to speak at Public Forum. It was not immediately clear who was behind the message, which came from the address hello@thankyoutim.org.

Select Board Chair Muriel Kramer opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance before addressing the attendees. Also in attendance were Vice Chair Shahidul Mannan and board members Mary-Jo LaFreniere and Amy Ritterbusch. Irfan Nasrullah was absent, and town manager Norman Khumalo joined remotely. 

Kramer began with an apology in the form of “an announcement on behalf of the board and the town,” specifically addressed to the “survivor at the center of this story.”

She said, “We, all of us on the board, those representing town government, our attorneys, and the police chief are deeply sorry for the inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information included in the documents that were not fully or appropriately redacted.”

After wrapping up the written apology, Kramer opened the floor to the Public Forum. Before Kramer could finish her instructions, the first resident approached for his permitted two minutes of speaking time.

Tim Boivin began the Public Forum with an emotional speech in support of Sgt. Brennan, but “more importantly, in support of the survivor in this case.”

Tim Boivin

Boivin said, in regards to the survivor’s information being released, “I let the board know how mortified the survivor’s mother was at this information being released.”

“The town continues to fail the survivor every single step of the way,” he added.

“Any victim of sexual assault is now going to be apprehensive about placing any trust in the Hopkinton Police Department – and rightly so,” said Boivin. 

“The survivor shared with me how horribly she feels that this has caused such pain and suffering for the family of Sgt. Brennan,” he added.

Jon Spinale said he spoke to Brennan before the Select Board meeting and reported Brennan was unaware of the event but was “deeply touched.”

Jon Spinale

Spinale said he has worked in law enforcement for 27 years, both at the county and state level. He added that 15 years of his career were working in internal affairs. 

“I’ve had the opportunity to professionally work hundreds of internal affairs investigations,” said Spinale. 

“In reviewing the information from this case, it’s disturbing to say the least, that we’re all even sitting in this room. This incident should’ve been handled completely differently,” he added.

Spinale said, “I think there’s probably some people in this room who should lose their job. Tim Brennan is not one of them.”

Daniel Osuch said he watched the video stream of the Loudermill hearing from home, but is here now because he feels “more passionate after seeing how Tim is being treated.”

Osuch said if the Select Board votes to terminate Brennan, “I ask you immediately after that to hand in your resignations, especially with the disclosures that have happened over the past week.”

Daniel Osuch

Resident Amy Thomas expressed her disappointment in the Board’s “revisionist history”. “You are saying this because you are trying to wash your hands of it. But no one has clean hands here. The Select Board is the appointing authority, and if you didn’t do your due diligence, that’s on you,” said Thomas.

Amy Thomas
Jim Scanlon

Jim Scanlon, one of the final residents to speak during the Public Forum, said, “This town deserves better. I will let you know – I want to look you all in the eyes – that when you are asked to be recalled – and it will happen – you’ll know that it was the town that spoke up. We need better. We deserve better.”

Kramer attempted to close the Public Forum and called for a 5-minute recess following the first 20 speakers. But the meeting’s attendees appealed to Kramer to allow them to continue speaking, at which point Mannan offered a compromise and allowed time for four more speakers.

After an hour of speeches, the Public Forum concluded. More than 24 Hopkinton residents expressed their support of Tim Brennan and demanded that the Select Board reinstate him to the town’s police force.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. I was at last nights meeting. What the town has put Sgt Brennan through is a travesty and deeply disturbing to me. If the speakers last night haven’t changed the minds of those on the Board (given all of the points so well made by those who spoke) then this town has a serious problem.

  2. This article failed to mention the most important remark from last nights meeting. Jon Spinale, the man with 27 years of law enforcement experience and 15 years working in internal affairs, said that if Tim does end up losing his job, it will go before arbitration and Tim WILL be given his job back. This guy knows what he is talking about. He’s relying on almost three decades of experience here. He is a subject matter expert. Hopefully the SB takes his comments to heart.

    Also, why hasn’t chief Bennett stepped down yet? Hasn’t he caused enough damage to this town? The pain and suffering that he has personally inflicted upon the survivor is grounds enough for immediate termination. He should get the Porter treatment. Give him three days to get his house in order and let him retire.

  3. THIS is the town I have lived in for almost 30 years. So proud of the residents for pushing back on such bad behavior by the board. Time for the board to resign and not put us through the recall effort. And time for Tim Brennan to appointed Chief of Police!

  4. Chief Bennett broke the law when he released documents containing the alleged victim’s name and other identifying information. When and how will he be held accountable? Who has the authority to press criminal charges against him, since he is the chief? He also traumatized the alleged victim and should be held accountable for that. I believe the Board of Selectman has that authority, however I think they were involved in the release so there must be someone else/some other agency who can hold him accountable. Regarding Bennett’s handling of Officer Brennan, he has caused a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety for Brennan and his family, for the alleged victim, as well as for the people of Hopkinton. He has also wasted a lot of time and money and set the town up for 2 lawsuits, one from the alleged victim who Bennett outed and one from Brennan for unlawful termination. It is time for Bennett to go. He has lost the respect of the residents of Hopkinton and likely of the officers under his command.

    • Don’t forget that the town is likely going to face a lawsuit from Kroll for violating the expressed and agreed upon terms for how their report can be used.

      “This report was prepared by Kroll at the request of the client to whom it is furnished. The client agrees that reports and information received from Kroll, including this report, are strictly confidential and are intended solely for the private and exclusive use of the client only in connection with a business, investment or other commercial purpose. Any other use (including for EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES, credit evaluation or insurance underwriting purposes) is strictly prohibited and client has AGREED THAT NO SUCH USE WILL OCCUR. Any communication, publication, disclosure, dissemination or reproduction of this report or any portion of its contents to third parties without the advance written consent of Kroll is not authorized.”

  5. I have questions, lots of questions. According to news reports the documents including the Kroll report were released on Bennett’s behalf by the town’s public relations firm. How long has Hopkinton had a PR firm? Who hired them? Specifically which budget do their fees come from? Do we have a contract with them? Here is what the firm says on their website:
    “JGPR creates professional press releases, ready for your website and social media accounts and written in Associated Press Style, as expected by the news media. Our press releases are regularly picked up by newspapers, radio, and local, regional and national TV stations, ensuring clients’ messages are delivered as intended.
    All content is crafted with the client’s individual needs in mind. JGPR will take sensitive police and fire reports and carefully draft a release that provides all necessary and relevant information to media while maintaining confidentiality as required by law (relating to domestic violence, juvenile justice, HIPPA, etc.)”

    Another question with regard to this part of the story: WHY ARE WE PAYING THEM???

    Last but not least, in order for any public hearing to begin, a motion must be made & seconded. The Chief wanted the SB to terminate the Sgt. The Loudermill hearing was called for that reason and the motion had to be made so discussion could begin. Anybody who has attended a government meeting, including Town Meeting. Getting angry about this is a red herring. There are enough actual issues here for everyone to be be mad about not the least of which is that a child was sexually assaulted.

  6. Interesting that of all the comments brought forward at the BOS meeting, 100% were in support of Brennan. Not a single comment in support of Chief Bennett or the BOS. How can the Chief serve a community that has no belief in him? How can Ritterbusch serve with a straight face…..she is incompetent and clearly unprepared to serve in a leadership position. Do the right thing Amy……resign. Your recall is coming. Was a reason provided for why IN did not attend the meeting?

  7. To my fellow citizens of Hopkinton, especially those who have shown support for Sgt. Timothy Brennan, we are nearly halfway through the 30 day period during which there are supposed to be negotiations relative to his job status. I’m not feeling a warm and fuzzy feeling that all of our heartfelt comments and opinions are “hitting home”, if you will. It was blatant and clearly obvious that the majority of the Board wanted to be anywhere but at the Public Hearing on Jan 19. The Selectmen’s Meeting of Jan 30, which was extremely well attended by concerned supporters of Sgt. Brennan, also seemed like a distraction of the Board’s normal agenda.

    Sgt. Brennan violated an administrative procedure, arguably for good reason, which in the entire scheme of things had ZERO IMPACT, on any of the citizens of Hopkinton. The Town, however, has blown this entire situation up to the extent that they will never be able to unscrew it! I truly believe that it was part of a tactical decision by the Town and their legal counsel, to release the Kroll report, if I were a betting man. This unconscionable act, was a devastating blow to the victim, infinitely worse than any damage that Sgt. Brennan caused!

    Next, they not only thumbed their nose at Mass General Laws regarding identifying victims of sexual assaults, but they also violated HIPAA by releasing her past medical history, and it didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out her medications!!! No bueno!!! They paid $30,000 to an investigation agency for an administrative policy violation, and then the information was found to be flawed, recommended charges on policies that weren’t even on the books at that time! But none of that stopped our Board, oh no, they hired another legal all star, with no experience in sexual assault cases to represent the Town. This attorney seemed “all in” with the policy violations, and again three out of the five were implemented after the fact.

    All for a policy violation! Does anyone see a pattern here? The Selectmen are using our hard earned tax money, for their own “Slush Fund” to go after one of the most respected employees of this town, EVER! They are getting a very poor return on their investment, but it is not slowing them down in continuing this charade.

    How about transparency? The Town hired an investigation consultant, so why couldn’t the subject matter expert, that Sgt. Brennan hired, be allowed to testify, or at the very least, had her letter read? What is the Town afraid of that could be so damning to the Town’s case that they wouldn’t let Attorney Keeley testify or at the very least let the citizens of Hopkinton see what she wrote? The Town didn’t seem to have a problem releasing the investigation transcripts that outed the victim, I would venture a guess that nothing in Attorney Keeley’s letter would stoop to that level.

    Again, Sgt. Brennan’s policy violation had ZERO IMPACT on any citizens of Hopkinton! The victimization of this woman by the Town is reprehensible and unforgivable. The Town has a waterfall of missteps compared to Sgt. Timothy Brennan’s violation, and I’m not sure that waterfall is running out of momentum anytime soon!

    I truly believe that all of the citizens who have given their time and effort toward this case have wasted their time, as far as the Selectmen are concerned. As far as I’m concerned, I couldn’t be more proud of my fellow citizens of Hopkinton, who recognize what an injustice the Town is putting Sgt. Brennan and his family through.

    It won’t stop here folks, because if the Selectmen hold onto their current agenda, the lawsuits will start piling up, from the victim, and from Sgt. Brennan for a wrongful termination. The Town has already destroyed the victim, disrespected and attempted to ruin an over 35 year, unblemished career, of a good man, deceived the public, and are leaving us all on the hook with, conservatively speaking, millions of dollars of lawsuits, and left a huge black eye to all of us as citizens of the Town of Hopkinton.

    No mas, no mas!

    We need to put pressure on the Town, and let them know that “the buck stops here!” If they sincerely think that they are acting in the best interest of town, we need to call “BS!” They are acting on their own agendas, without regard for any of us whatsoever! We need to act without delay, and let the Board know that their “current practices” are not in line with the citizens of Hopkinton. By whatever means possible, it is time to send a message, removing any doubt of our intentions, and letting them know that despite their arrogance, and blinding revengeful attempt to go after Sgt. Timothy Brennan, we won’t tolerate it in any way, shape, or form. We will look out for our own well being, because apparently, it is not in the Board’s best interest!

  8. If anything he used great restraint in honoring the victims wishes in this particular case. The out should be immediately let go.

  9. HPD Chief Bennet’s revenge tour needs to end

    Hopkinton deserves better. The lack of leadership and dubious tactics by this chief and by extent the select board allowing his actions and behaviors are abhorrent.

    How has Chief Bennet not been held accountable for outing the victim in this case? How has Chief Bennet and his lawyer Nicholas Anastasopoulos not been held accountable for using the strictly confidential Kroll report in an open forum, for employment decisions not contractually allowed? How has Chief Bennet not been held accountable for wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on investigating and lying in public about one his finest officers?

    -From the Kroll Report-
    This report was prepared by Kroll at the request of the client to whom it is furnished (Bennet/Anastasopoulos). The client agrees that reports and information received from Kroll, including this report, are strictly confidential and are intended solely for the private and exclusive use of the client only in connection with a business, investment or other commercial purpose. Any other use (including for employment purposes, credit evaluation or insurance underwriting purposes) is strictly prohibited and client has agreed that no such use will occur. –

    The Hopkinton Select Board put DC Porter and Chief Bennet in many positions of Management/ leadership over a period of years. How have these decisions affected this community, public trust and fiduciary responsibility? How much money, time and energy have been wasted for these two persons? These two best friends. Think of the results; rape accusations, frivolous investigations, lawyers fees, a town erupting due the actions and behaviors of these men. It’s time to cut the cord. It’s time to put Porter, his “work spouse” Chief Bennet and his goon attorney Nicholas Anastasopoulos in the rear view mirror. How this man is still being paid for legal advice by the town is beyond comprehension. Read the first page Nick!

    Chief Bennet should be held accountable for his actions and tactics. Members of the Hopkinton Select Board, it’s time you collectively act. Fire HPD Chief Bennet, he wastes resources, both dollars and personnel. Chief Bennet’s revenge tour should end now.

    Trust is what you needed. Trust like the survivor/victim had in Sgt. Tim Brennan.

    If you want to know why I support Sgt. Brenan it’s because I know the content of his character. I know that when I have been down and out, needed a confidant or a laugh who I could turn to. I have turned to Tim. Tim Brennan is fair, smart, works hard and never takes advantage of others. He would never treat anyone the way he is being treated. As I have said before, in letters to the HSB and others. Thank you Tim. Tim deserves better treatment from the Select Board, Chief Bennet, and Nicholas Anastasopoulos. Tim deserves my thanks and the the thanks from many others in Hopkinton. #thankyoutim

    -Bill

  10. Please sign the upcoming petition that will recall the members of the SB. The petition will be available to sign shortly. The time for action has come if the citizens of our town want Hopkinton back.

    • Hi Scott,
      I think it makes sense to also include Chief Bennet in this petition. He’s poor leadership has resulted in more than 10 good police officers leaving Hopkinton to seek employment in our surrounding towns. This puts all residents of Hopkinton at risk. His mismanagement of the Tim Brennan situation is grounds enough for his termination. When you couple that with his pubic outing of a sexual assault victim, it’s untenable to have him continue to work for the town in any capacity.

    • While I agree and really appreciate the work to put together a petition to recall all of the select board. I think we should really be focusing on recalling Amy Ritterbush. She not only showed up to the hearing with a pre-written statement and motion to terminate. She broke the law and shared the survivors’ personal information, both on her official Select Board social media account, and on Facebook groups, there has been zero apology from her personally. Knowing her she will just hide behind her computer will not resign or apologize. She is not up for election this year. I think we are best served trying to focus our attention on Amy Ritterbush.

  11. Massachusetts General Law Part IV Title I Chapter 265 Section 24C is very explicit and clear. “That portion of the records of a court or any police department of the commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, which contain the name of the victim in an arrest, investigation or complaint for rape or assault with intent to rape….shall be withheld from public inspection, except with the consent of a justice of such court where the complaint or indictment is or would be prosecuted. A violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than two thousand five hundred dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars.”

    Not only was the name of the victim made public but also the names of her children, her address, and where she works. Like many people in town, I want to know when the people responsible for this unlawful disclosure will be arrested and charged.

  12. “Rules for thee, but not for me.” I think I see a new motto on the flag at town hall. Now if they could just shut us up so they can get back onto their high horse.

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