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Hull officer faces investigation into embezzling of union funds

The town of Hull placed a police officer on paid leave this week, pending results of an investigation into allegations of embezzlement of police union funds to buy meals and drinks at expensive restaurants, bars, and adult entertainment clubs.

Officials would not name the officer put on leave.

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The embezzlement allegations were outlined in a civil lawsuit filed March 3 in Plymouth Superior Court by Richard McKenna, a recently retired Hull police officer. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of all union members to recover $130,000 in allegedly missing funds, names Police Chief Richard Billings and other high-ranking officers in the Police Department as defendants.

“The Board of Selectmen and the Police Department administration take these allegations very seriously and have requested the office of the attorney general of Massachusetts to do a thorough investigation,” the selectmen wrote in a release posted on the town’s website. Both selectmen and the police administration “have pledged full cooperation” with the investigation, the statement added.

The release noted that the allegations are against “current and former members of the Hull Police Relief Association Inc. and the Hull Police Associates, neither of which are affiliated with the town of Hull.”

McKenna, who retired after 28 years on the force, said in the lawsuit that he discovered money was missing when he tried unsuccessfully to get supplemental retirement benefits from the union.

The complaint is one of several filed against Hull officers. In 2011, a female officer filed a sexual harassment suit against Billings and two officers. In 2012, she filed a complaint accusing police officials of misusing a federal grant and docking her pay when she refused to falsify records. Both cases are ongoing.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.
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