, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 2, 2012

Report: jealousy, weak accusations led to firing


“Detective Sforza’s calculations are not sufficiently reliable to conclude that (Thomas) studied for the February, 2008 Bar Examination on town time,” Boulanger wrote. “Chief St. Pierre agreed with the union’s contention that (Thomas’) 50 leave days and compensatory time, combined with his 5 (days on) -2 (days off) schedule left him with 70 days of non-work time to study for the Bar Examination. Therefore, the evidence of (Thomas’) leave and compensatory time utilization indicates that he used a significant portion if not all of his own leave to study for the Bar Examination. . . . based on the preponderance of the evidence, it is more than likely than not that (Thomas) did not study for the February, 2008 Bar Examination while on duty.”

As to the accusation Thomas lied on the application for admittance to the FBI Academy, Boulanger again referred to the preponderance of evidence not proving guilt.

The town claimed Thomas conspired to falsify his position in the department, as well as neglected to report past disciplinary action against him on the application to take a course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

According to Boulanger’s ruling, L’Esperance testified he filled out and filed the application for the Academy and its corresponding letters to get Thomas into the highly regarded law enforcement course. In the application, L’Esperance wrote that Thomas was “chief of detectives,” an official position Harrington claimed does not exist in the town’s hierarchy.

However, L’Esperance testified the position chief of detectives was his own creation, an unofficial title given to Thomas because he was assigned by L’Esperance the most difficult cases to investigate. It was also a way to credit the detective and enhance morale, he testified.

Further, although the town claimed that Thomas conspired with L’Esperance to falsify the application, Boulanger said the evidence did not support the charge.

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