, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 7, 2013

State Bar clears ex-chief L'Esperance of allegations

SALISBURY —Without taking any disciplinary action, the state’s Board of Bar Overseers recently closed the file concerning allegations of misconduct made against attorney and former Salisbury police Chief David L’Esperance.

The board’s decision helps to clear L’Esperance’s name in the legal community. He currently works as a lawyer.

Town Manager Neil Harrington notified the BBO of the L’Esperance controversy shortly after it broke in December 2010, when the former chief was accused of taking part in criminal activities, including exchanging drugs for sex. Notification came in the form of the January 2011 report, written by consultant and former Salem police Chief Robert St. Pierre, who was hired by Harrington to look into L’Esperance’s behavior while chief.

The report included allegations made by defendants interviewed by police after they were arrested for theft-related crimes. The report also included allegations brought against L’Esperance by his own officers. It accused L’Esperance with selling drugs for sex with known criminals, among other allegations.

Prosecutors did not charge L’Esperance, due to lack of evidence. However, the Salisbury Police Department brought unrelated theft charges, of which L’Esperance was acquitted in June 2012.

Written by Assistant Bar Counsel Sherri Gilmore, the letter noted that the BBO “reviewed and thoroughly investigated,” the allegations in the St. Pierre report prior to closing the case.

Gilmore wrote that the BBO didn’t believe any further investigation into the allegations of misconduct were warranted in light of the fact that L’Esperance was acquitted of all the criminal charges Salisbury police brought against him.

Gilmore also wrote that an arbitrator’s ruling that ordered Salisbury to rehire formerly fired police officer Mark Thomas also played a part in the BBO’s decision. The allegations that led to Thomas’ termination arose in January 2011 during the L’Esperance’s investigation.

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