, Newburyport, MA

July 9, 2011

L’Esperance surrenders to police

Former police chief to be arraigned on charges Monday

By Angeljean Chiaramida
Staff writer

— SALISBURY —  Former Salisbury police Chief David L’Esperance surrendered himself at Salisbury police station Saturday morning after warrants for his arrest were issued on larceny charges brought by the police force he once led.

According to Town Manager Neil Harrington, it was mid-morning when L’Esperance appeared alone at the police station at Salisbury Beach.

“He turned himself in at about 10 a.m. today,” Harrington said on Saturday. “He was booked by Chief (Richard) Merrill and Detective (Steven) Sforza.”

L’Esperance, a former Seabrook resident now living in Lynn, was released on personal recognizance bail following his arrest and booking. He will be arraigned Monday at Newburyport District Court.

The 51-year-old former police chief faces two felony counts of larceny of property worth more than $250, and two misdemeanor counts of larceny of property worth less than $250.

L’Esperance, a lawyer, surrendered to local officials less than 24 hours after warrants were issued from Newburyport District Court.

His arrest on the charges is the latest installment of a seven-month-long saga of his fall from grace that began on Dec. 6, when he was placed on administrative leave because of allegations claiming he had traded drugs for sex and favors. L’Esperance retired from police work on Jan. 18, in the midst of the investigation into the alleged criminal behavior.

But the warrants issued Friday do not relate to the original allegations made against L’Esperance. To date, no charges have resulted from those claims made by individuals who themselves were charged and since convicted of criminal misconduct.

Instead, the current charges L’Esperance faces stem from information gathered during two extensive investigations into the Police Department conducted by former Salem police chief Robert St. Pierre, who was hired by Harrington in mid-December.

According to court documents, one felony larceny count and both misdemeanor larceny counts relate to L’Esperance stealing from two different crime scenes.The other misdemeanor-level theft charge tied to a crime scene concerns an extension cord and assorted tools taken by L’Esperance from the trunk of a vehicle belonging to a Lawrence man in January 2007.