A former Transit Police officer allegedly raped two women he encountered while on duty near the New England Aquarium MBTA stop in 2012 after giving them a “joyride” in his marked cruiser, according to Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office.
Shawn McCarthy, 46, was virtually arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday where he pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape, according to court records. He was released on personal recognizance and ordered to keep away from the two women and other witnesses, according to the records.
McCarthy, a Wilmington resident, was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury on Monday, officials said.
McCarthy’s defense attorney, Terrence W. Kennedy, said his client was “shocked” when told by Transit Police that he had been indicted, especially on charges revolving around an incident that allegedly happened eight years ago.
“He looks forward to his day in court where he can show that these allegations are false,’’ Kennedy said in a telephone interview Thursday. “The story that’s been told is a very strange story, and I am looking forward to delving into this more deeply.”
Kennedy declined further comment.
Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green, in a statement, applauded the two women for their courage.
“First and foremost my thoughts are with the survivors of this despicable assault. I’m in awe of their bravery to come forward,” Green said. "I know McCarthy’s alleged criminal acts will place a stain not only on the Transit Police but all of law enforcement and that is very unfortunate. The overwhelming majority of officers take their oath to serve the public with the utmost integrity and pride.”
The women, who were in their 20s, were drinking near the downtown Boston neighborhood in July 2012 when McCarthy encountered them. Ignoring a warning from a fellow Transit Police officer, McCarthy allegedly “offered the women a joyride in his marked police cruiser and drove them around the area with blue lights flashing."
McCarthy then allegedly demanded sex in return for letting the women ride in the marked cruiser.
"After stopping in a vacant lot so the women could relieve themselves, McCarthy said he hadn’t risked his job for nothing and he would not take them back downtown until he got something out of it,'' prosecutors said in a statement. “The women stated that they feared getting in trouble and had no choice but to submit as McCarthy subjected them to sexual acts.”
According to prosecutors, he raped one woman twice, and the other, once.
McCarthy drove the women to another location, dropped them off and “warned them not to tell anyone about the episode,” prosecutors wrote.
He was in full uniform and wearing his department-issued pistol, authorities said.
One of the victims told a male relative about the alleged sexual assaults shortly after the incident. But law enforcement wasn’t notified about it until last year when one of the victims disclosed the alleged attack while pursuing a career in law enforcement for herself, Rollins said.
“It takes great courage for survivors in a case like this to come forward,” Rollins said in a statement. “When a member of any law enforcement agency commits such a horrendous act, it erodes the community’s confidence in law enforcement as a whole. When law enforcement asks for the community’s help in solving crime, we and the police must be trusted.”
Rollins, who thanked Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan for pursuing an investigation that led to charges against one of his officers, also said she plans to hold McCarthy accountable “as part of our efforts to rebuild the community’s trust in this noble profession.”
Rollins’s office had been presenting evidence on the case to a Suffolk County grand jury in March, but that effort was put on hold when the courts were closed during the coronavirus pandemic. At Rollins’s request, the same grand jury was reassembled this week, leading to McCarthy’s indictment Monday.