On Friday, January 19, just before Tim Brennan’s Loudermill Hearing, the Town of Hopkinton publicly released several documents, in accordance with public meeting laws. Both the town’s attorney and Brennan’s defense referred to the documents, specifically the so-called Kroll Report several times throughout the presentation.
Some of the documents were formal in nature; police department policies, Brennan’s notice of leave, and the announcement of the public hearing.
But one of the documents was the full transcript of the interview of Sgt. Brennan performed by Daniel Linskey of Kroll Investigative Services, who the town hired in February 2023 to perform an Internal Affairs investigation.
In the transcript, Linskey identifies the victim by name, and the town published it without redaction.
This is a violation of Massachusetts General Law Part IV, Title I, Chapter 265, Section 24C, which reads in part:
That portion of the records of a court or any police department of the commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, which contains 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
Through its public relations agency, JGPR, the town distributed a press release to multiple media agencies announcing they had made the documents public. “Chief Bennett has released these documents following multiple public records request and amid significant public interest, inquiry and media reporting on the matter,” stated the release. Select Board Member Amy Ritterbusch amplified the release on her official social media profile.
Out of respect for the victim’s privacy, HopNews elected not to publicize the release. However, several other media outlets did, making copies of the documents and providing links to the copies instead of the originals hosted by the town. By Sunday, the town presumably realizing its error, removed the Brennan interview from their website, but it was too late.
HopNews interviewed a self-identified “close friend” of the victim, who said the woman was “enraged and sobbing uncontrollably” after discovering that she had been outed by the town. HopNews has independently verified their relationship.
Also published by the town was the redacted Kroll report. In October, HopNews reported on several portions of the report to construct a timeline of the Porter case. At the time the contents of the report had not been widely distributed, nor had it been used by the town in any meaningful way.
This is noteworthy because the report contains several important disclaimers and expectations on the first page, in a section titled Privileged & Confidential.
Specifically, it says:
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. (emphasis added)
The paragraph then goes on to say.
Statements herein concerning … regulatory or legal matters … may not be relied upon. THIS REPORT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A RECOMMENDATION, ENDORSEMENT, OPINION OR APPROVAL OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO ANY TRANSACTION, DECISION OR EVALUATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS SUCH UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. (emphasis in original)
On Friday night at Brennan’s Loudermill hearing, Attorney Nicholas Anastasopoulos repeatedly referred to the Kroll report. In fact, all five allegations against Brennan were predicated on testimony contained in the report, which by Kroll’s disclaimer “should not be relied upon under any circumstances”, and specifically not for employment purposes. It is not known if the town obtained prior written consent from Kroll to share the report, as the agreement stipulates.
Obviously, the town is now in breach of the contract. And while Kroll is unlikely to do anything about it at this point, it is possible they become party to a lawsuit over the report, at which point Kroll would likely sue the town for its very public breach in an attempt to limit its damages.
HopNews attempted to contact Select Board Chair Muriel Kramer and Town Manager Norman Khumalo for a comment on this matter but neither returned the call.