, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 3, 2014

Ex-firefighter indicted on abuse, kidnapping charges

SALEM — A former Salem firefighter charged with repeatedly assaulting his estranged wife could face state prison time, following his indictment by an Essex County grand jury Thursday.

John O’Leary, 45, of 10 Wyman Drive, Salem, is being held without bail after a judge deemed him too dangerous to release, following his arrest in March.

The indictment of O’Leary on charges that include kidnapping, witness intimidation, and two counts each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery, moves the case to Superior Court, where judges have the authority to impose state prison time.

The allegations against O’Leary, stemming from incidents in January and last year, surfaced in March after his wife sought a restraining order.

She told police that her husband had repeatedly abused her after losing his job amid questions about his handling of a firefighters union charity account. O’Leary is the former president of the firefighters union.

An incident in January, she said, required medical attention for a serious head wound. She did not report the abuse until March, however, after O’Leary insisted that he was moving back into their home.

O’Leary’s attorney has argued that the allegations were prompted by O’Leary’s decision to contact the wife of a man with whom his estranged wife was having a relationship.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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