The state Ethics Commission has launched an investigation into how and why the former head of the Massachusetts State Police ordered two troopers to delete embarrassing information from an arrest report involving the daughter of a district court judge.
Ethics investigators this week interviewed troopers Ryan Sceviour and Ali Rei to determine which law enforcement officials played a role in ordering the alterations, the head of the State Police union confirmed Wednesday.
It marks the third probe of the scandal. State Police Superintendent Richard McKeon and his chief deputy abruptly retired earlier this month after McKeon admitted that he had ordered the troopers to alter reports on the arrest of Alli Bibaud, deleting her offer of sex in exchange for leniency as well as references to her father, Judge Timothy Bibaud.
Anyone involved in changing the police report could face charges of violating the state conflict of interest law, which bars anyone from using an official position to get something for themselves or others that an ordinary person could not get. Violations can lead to fines of up to $10,000 and potential criminal prosecution.
“This is rife with conflicts. Any public official who made a phone call or took any action to facilitate this scheme has a problem — a big one,” said Thomas Hoopes, a former state prosecutor who is now in private practice handling white collar and ethics matters.
Defense attorney Thomas Butters said that anyone involved in the alteration of the police reports could also be charged with obstruction of justice or other criminal violations.
“To me, an ethics commission violation is the least of their worries,” said Butters.
State Attorney General Maura Healey has already said she is investigating the incident, and the new superintendent of the State Police, Kerry Gilpin, also vowed to get to the bottom of the scandal. In addition, Sceviour filed a federal lawsuit against McKeon, alleging he was reprimanded and forced to falsify official records to protect the judge’s daughter. Rei filed a similar suit.
The ethics investigators are expected to interview several people, including the sergeant who approved Sceviour’s report and the union representative who was with Sceviour when he was ordered to rewrite his report, said union president Dana Pullman.
The law enforcement officials facing scrutiny could include anyone from the Worcester district attorney’s office, who Governor Charlie Baker acknowledged this week had communicated with the State Police about the Bibaud case. It could also include the prosecutor who eventually asked a judge to redact the report.
Officials in the Executive Office of Public Safety, the agency that oversees the State Police, could also face questions if they played a role, though Baker has insisted that Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett did not.
Ethics commission spokesman David Giannotti declined to comment, writing in an e-mail, “I can neither confirm nor deny whether the commission has received any complaints or is conducting any investigations.”
Former superintendent McKeon has drawn widespread criticism for ordering Sceviour to alter the report he wrote after arresting Bibaud in Worcester on charges of drunken driving and driving under the influence of drugs on Oct. 16.
McKeon and his command staff also ordered Sceviour’s and Rei’s supervisors to issue letters of reprimand — which were rescinded after the Globe first published details of the incident.
Bibaud pleaded guilty to operating under the influence of alcohol this week.
Sceviour said he was ordered to remove Bibaud’s admission that she has traded sex for heroin and her rant that her father was a judge who would be furious about her arrest.
McKeon suggested he was just trying to treat a victim of opioid addiction with sensitivity and respect. He also said he has told troopers “more times than I can remember” to focus their reports only on the charges against the individual. “In our law enforcement role, our first duty is to enforce the law and protect the public, but that doesn’t preclude us from being empathetic toward those in need,” he wrote in a separate resignation letter to Bennett.
The second trooper, Rei, a drug recognition expert, said her detailed notes about her encounter with Bibaud were excised from the agency’s daily log on an order from Major Susan Anderson, the head of the Holden barracks.
Anderson told the trooper she could keep a copy of the notes to help her write up the report she is required to file in court, according to Rei’s lawsuit. But she was instructed to delete anything sexual or sensational, and then shred her original notes, according to Rei’s written statements.Andrea Estes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, Major Susan Anderson’s name was incorrect in an earlier version of this article.