WALTHAM — The former police chief, Thomas LaCroix, who was convicted of twice assaulting his wife at their Maynard home last year, will receive a full pension after the Retirement Board voted unanimously Thursday night to grant it.
“There are times in a person’s life when one mistake can cost that person everything,” wrote Michael Sacco, the board’s lawyer, in his recommendation to the retirement panel. “After much thought and deliberation, I conclude this is not one of those circumstances.”
Massachusetts retirement law states that if a public employee’s convictions are found to relate at all to his or her position, the pension for that employee can be taken away.
Citing Durkin v. Boston Retirement Board, where a Boston police officer lost his pension after he shot another officer while drunk, Sacco supported his recommendation by noting that LaCroix was not convicted of using a dangerous weapon when he assaulted his wife.
“LaCroix was originally charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and had he been convicted of that crime, the recommended decision in this case likely would have been different,” Sacco wrote.
The Waltham Retirement Board’s decision comes after a Concord District Court jury found LaCroix guilty on June 26 of assaulting his wife, Andrea, last year.
LaCroix resigned from his post on July 10, the same day that Judge J. Elizabeth Cremens sentenced him to 18 months’ probation.
Andrea LaCroix testified on her husband’s behalf at that trial and accompanied him to the hearing Thursday night.
Retirement officials summonsed LaCroix to a hearing after he applied for his retirement benefits this past summer.
“The LaCroixs are delighted that the Retirement Board granted Chief LaCroix his retirement,” said Nicholas Poser, LaCroix’s pension lawyer, after the hearing. “The LaCroixs are anxious to move on with their lives. This has been a searing experience, and now they have been gratified.”
Pension benefits for LaCroix will begin dating back to July 10, when he resigned, officials said.
Retirement officials said they will not know exactly how much the former chief will receive until later this month.
LaCroix, 50, worked for the Waltham Police Department for 26 years; he was appointed chief in 2007.
Retirement officials said that city employees must have worked for 20 years, or 10 years if they are 50 or older, to qualify for pension benefits.
The decision comes after a Concord District Court jury found LaCroix guilty on June 26 of assaulting his wife, Andrea, last year.
LaCroix’s 26 years of police service, coupled with his age, would result in an annual pension equivalent to about 52 percent of his average salary and longevity pay over the last three years. Last year, he made $163,119 in salary and longevity, according to payroll records.
LaCroix had been on paid administrative leave for a little more than a year when the jury returned the guilty verdict in June.
He was then taken off the city payroll, but continued on unpaid leave.
At that point, he had collected about $200,000 in pay after his arrest on June 14, 2012, according to city payroll records.Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.