NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 14, 2012

Ex-chief accuses town of slander

Attorney seeking unspecified settlement from Salisbury

(Continued)

The scathing report released by the town on Jan. 24, 2011 was seriously flawed, Kendall said. He blames not only town officials, but the man Harrington hired to conduct the review and write the report, former Salem police Chief Robert St. Pierre.

Yesterday, Kendall said St. Pierre didn’t perform due diligence to ensure information in the report was true and accurate before he included it. The town’s alleged legal error, he said, was releasing such a report to the public.

St. Pierre never interviewed L’Esperance’s original accusers, Kendall claims, nor did he look into their credibility, but instead simply transferred what was said in interviews done by others into the report.

Kendall alleges St. Pierre also left out information that could have exonerated L’Esperance in some instances, while putting in the report only information that hurt L’Esperance.

Some of the St. Pierre report information that implied L’Esperance was dishonest was later repudiated by the follow-up McDougal report, Kendall argued. And unlike the St. Pierre report, the McDougal report was not released to the public immediately after its completion, he said, but only after The Daily News requested it.

Kendall’s letter claims that evidence in the case was “intentionally destroyed or spoiled by individuals acting individually in their capacity with the Town of Salisbury.”

Further, Kendall’s letter asserts that town “maliciously prosecuted” L’Esperance on separate theft-related felony charges months after the scandal broke. He said the town did so after allegedly being told not to do so by the Essex County district attorney’s office because of insufficient evidence. L’Esperance was found not guilty on all those theft-related charges, Kendall added in his letter.

The errors made while handling the L’Esperance case were “egregious” on many levels, Kendall said in yesterday’s interview.

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