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Lawmaker pressing gambling panel to delay McGee hiring

Letter calls for inquiry into abuse allegations

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Stanley McGee is scheduled to begin working Monday as the gambling commission’s interim executive director.

A prominent Republican lawmaker from Norfolk wants the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to delay the hiring of Carl Stanley McGee, to allow the panel to independently investigate sexual assault allegations brought against McGee by a 15-year-old boy in Florida in 2007.

In a letter slated for delivery to the commission on Monday morning, Representative Daniel Winslow asked the panel to stay the hiring of McGee - who is scheduled to begin working Monday as the commission’s interim executive director - for a week to allow for an independent inquiry into the accusations.

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Winslow, a former state judge and chief legal counsel during part of Mitt Romney’s administration, said further investigation is warranted, even though Florida prosecutors did not press charges.

“As we have seen in events following the death of Trayvon Martin, we should not rely on an expectation of competence by Florida prosecutorial authorities,’’ Winslow wrote.

He said he was shocked to learn that authorities declined to press charges in the McGee case because of a lack of DNA or other corroborating evidence. He said such evidence rarely exists in similar cases, compelling juries to rely on the victim’s credibility and circumstantial evidence.

He also urged the commission to require McGee, 43, to take a polygraph examination and said the panel should interview his accuser, now a 20-year-old college student.

A spokeswoman for the gambling commission could not be reached for comment Sunday.

State law bars employers from requiring applicants to take lie detector exams, though the prohibition “shall not apply to lie detector tests administered by law enforcement agencies as may be otherwise permitted in criminal investigations,’’ according to the statute.

Winslow wrote that “The [commission] has extraordinary power to conduct due diligence to assure a pristine environment for gambling in Massachusetts. If it wished . . . the [commission] could require polygraph examinations, as do other financial and security enterprises.’’

Winslow supported the legislation, signed by Governor Deval Patrick, that created the gambling commission, which will pick the winning proposals for up to three gambling resorts and one slot parlor and write the regulations governing them.

Though Patrick, a Democrat, was not involved in McGee’s hiring as interim executive director, the governor played a key role in appointing members of the commission.

And McGee has been working in the Patrick administration in the state housing and economic development office, where he served when he was arrested. The state placed McGee on unpaid leave after his arrest but allowed him to return to work after charges were not filed.

In a phone interview Sunday, Winslow denied any suggestion that his letter was an act of political grandstanding against the opposition party.

“I know most of the people on the gaming commission professionally and personally,’’ Winslow said. “I consider them friends and I admire them, so believe me, this is not a letter I wanted to write. But there is no room for partisanship when it comes to questions of this sort. This is a matter of conscience for me.’’

A spokesman for the governor declined to comment on Winslow’s letter.

McGee, a Rhodes scholar and Harvard Law School graduate, was arrested in December 2007 on suspicion of assaulting the boy in the steam room of a luxury hotel. He did not return a call seeking comment Sunday.

The Globe reported last week that law enforcement officials in Florida believed the accuser and urged the local prosecutor to bring charges against McGee. He later paid an undisclosed sum to settle a civil lawsuit with the accuser’s family.

A lawyer for the accuser has said members of the family are willing to meet with the gambling commission to tell their side of the story.

The panel’s chairman, Stephen Crosby, has acknowledged that he conducted no independent investigation of the assault allegations before the commission hired McGee.

Crosby was quoted last week in the Cape Cod Times as saying that the commission spoke to the prosecutor in Florida and Patrick, and that everyone believed there was no substance to the allegation. Crosby later said the quote was inaccurate, but the Times has stood by the story.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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