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Former Boston police union head charged with yearslong sexual abuse of young girl

Patrick M, Rose covered his face during his arraignment Thursday  in West Roxbury.
Patrick M, Rose covered his face during his arraignment Thursday in West Roxbury.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The former president of Boston’s largest police union shielded his face from view Thursday morning as he pleaded not guilty in a West Roxbury courtroom to charges that he molested a young girl over five years.

Patrick M. Rose, who retired in 2018 after 24 years with the Boston Police Department, spent three of his final years as president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association. In that leadership role, Rose served as the public face of the rank-and-file, known for his smooth contract bargaining and relentless support for police officers.

But the 66-year-old spent Thursday morning huddled near the side door through which he entered and exited the courtroom. Handcuffed at the wrists and wearing blue surgical gloves, he splayed his hands across the side of his face to hide his profile from news photographers.

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Prosecutors called the allegations “quite heinous.” Judge Kathleen Coffey said the case was “sad and serious.” Rose didn’t offer a defense, but his attorney emphasized his military and law enforcement background, saying “his entire life has been dedicated to service.”

Rose’s young victim told investigators earlier this month that the abuse began when she was about 7 and lasted until she was about 12.

The child and her father went to Boston police on Aug 2, according to a police report. The girl, now 14, told investigators that over about five years, Rose “had touched her down below,” exposed himself, and showed her pornography on his iPad, according to the report.

The case was referred to Massachusetts State Police to investigate, resulting in Rose’s arrest on Wednesday.

Rose faces nine charges: including one count of aggravated rape of a child and five counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

Calls to Rose’s family went unanswered Thursday.

In court, prosecutor Audrey Mark asked for $250,000 bail, citing the family’s concern that Rose may flee or try to hurt himself. Rose’s defense lawyer, Michael McKinnon, argued for $5,000. Coffey set it at $100,000.

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Rose’s behavior over the past 11 days had been troubling to his family, Mark said.

Rose left his West Roxbury home earlier this month, telling his family he was going to Arlington for in-patient treatment and would need to turn off his phone, Mark said. Later, he called to check in and wanted to know if anyone had been looking for him. He was actually staying in a hotel in Needham, Mark said.

“We only know that he was not being necessarily truthful with his family about where he was,” Mark said.

McKinnon said his client tried to get into a treatment facility but was delayed because he needed to be tested for COVID-19 first.

Coffey ordered Rose to stay away from the victim, have no unsupervised contact with children younger than 16, wear a GPS monitor, and surrender his passport, firearms, and license to carry firearms.

“I think we all recognize this is a very sad and serious case,” Coffey said. She scheduled the next hearing for Sept. 10.

Outside of court after the hearing, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said the allegations call into question Rose’s past conduct as a police officer, including arrests he made and his encounters with minors.

“We are going to be looking deeply into this because this is a broken trust,” Rollins said. “This is a broken trust not only within this family that is deeply impacted by this, but with the community and this individual.”

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Rollins said that Police Commissioner William Gross immediately contacted her upon learning of the allegations. Together, she said, they decided it would be best to turn the investigation over to the State Police.

Sergeant Detective John Boyle, a Boston police spokesman, declined to comment, as did leaders of the patrol officers’ union.

After news of Rose’s arrest broke Wednesday night, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, “I am deeply disturbed by these horrific allegations, which must be investigated to the fullest extent of the law.”

Rose joined the Police Department in 1994. In 2014, he became leader of the union, succeeding longtime president Thomas Nee, who had battled with the late Mayor Thomas M. Menino over contract issues.

Rose resigned from the union in 2017, shortly before his Boston police retirement in January 2018. City payroll records show he earned $119,342 in 2017.

Rose played a key role in lobbying for the interests of officers, ranging from backroom labor discussions with city leaders to media appearances promoting police actions.

Under Rose’s leadership, the union and Walsh’s office agreed in 2017 to a four-year, $68 million contract. It was a milestone, the first time in nearly a decade that both sides had voluntarily settled.

Rose made headlines again in 2016, when the union went to court to prevent the city from forcing police officers into a pilot program for body cameras. The judge eventually ruled in the city’s favor.

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Martin Finucane, Milton J. Valencia, and Gal Tziperman Lotan of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report.


Tonya Alanez can be reached at tonya.alanez@globe.com or 617-929-1579. Follow her on Twitter @talanez.