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Watertown

Hearing scheduled on convicted police sergeant’s pension

Watertown retirement officials have scheduled a pension forfeiture hearing on Nov. 20 for a retired Watertown police sergeant who is facing sentencing on federal drug charges.

Joseph Deignan, 58, of Framingham, pleaded guilty last month in federal court to stealing an ID while on the force, and using it to obtain oxycodone and other prescription drugs illegally, according to the office of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

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He was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance by fraud, and fraud in connection with identification documents, the federal prosecutor’s office said, based on evidence that he had stolen a driver’s license while working as a traffic supervisor in 2010 and used it to obtain more than 100 forged prescriptions.

Deignan is slated for sentencing in US District Court in Boston on Nov. 15. His pension forfeiture hearing is slated for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 20 in Watertown Town Hall.

His lawyer in the pension hearing, Nicholas Poser, said he expects that the Watertown Retirement Board will give Deignan “a thorough and thoughtful review,” and he hopes that the board would not take away his client’s pension.

“Hopefully, his pension is not forfeited, because his conviction had nothing to do with his job as a Watertown police officer, which he was for over 25 years,” Poser said.

Watertown officials said Deignan, who served in the department for 32 years, has been collecting an annual pension of $55,731 since his retirement in February 2012.

If Deignan’s convictions are found to relate to his position on the police force, the town could try to revoke his pension under state retirement law, said Thomas Gibson, the retirement board’s lawyer.

Gibson previously said that the board could also decide to recover Deignan’s pension payments retroactively to the time of the crime, under state legislation that was signed into law in 2011.

He said this week that the retirement board has collected all of the documents, including Deignan’s statement in his guilty plea, needed to convene the forfeiture hearing.

Gibson said he anticipates the board will make a decision on the day of the hearing, which will be open to the public.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com.
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