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Top-ranking State Police officers have troubling pasts

Captains remain on duty despite charges of harassment, “abuse of position," dishonesty

Massachusetts State Police General Headquarters in Framingham.
Massachusetts State Police General Headquarters in Framingham.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/David L Ryan, Globe Staff

Nearly one in every five troopers on the current roster of the Massachusetts State Police has at least one sustained misconduct charge, or one that was investigated and confirmed, according to a Globe review of the agency’s internal investigation files published Sunday.

And that wrongdoing reaches into the top leadership of the state’s largest police force.

At least 10 officers at the rank of captain or higher have sustained charges on their record. Below are several examples of officers in leadership roles with troubling cases. State Police refused to comment about each of these cases, including about what, if any, discipline was issued.

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Captain Thomas McCarthy

McCarthy has 28 sustained charges to his name, 27 of which stemmed from an incident in 2011 when he led Saugus police on a chase down Route 1.

McCarthy, who had twice before faced internal probes into accusations of drinking and driving that ultimately were not sustained, was spotted swerving across the road in an unmarked cruiser. In a closed-door court hearing, a clerk magistrate ruled there was not enough evidence to charge him with drunken driving, according to media reports. Instead, McCarthy was arraigned on lesser charges which led to him serving a six-month probation stint. State Police temporarily suspended him without pay.

A heavily redacted internal report also explored McCarthy’s claim that he had stashed spare license plates at work and inside his cruiser to conduct “undercover investigations.” The report also referenced an alleged incident in which McCarthy fired a round out of his cruiser window during an argument with someone. But the un-redacted portions of the report did not make clear what investigators concluded on either issue.

The report also alleged that McCarthy, during the probe, engaged in actions bordering on witness intimidation. The investigating officer also wrote that he thought McCarthy was lying during an interview.

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McCarthy, who could not be reached for comment last week, made $283,000 last year.

Captain Nunzio Orlando

Orlando has 14 sustained charges across five cases, including for “abuse of position.” Nine of those charges stemmed from a letter Orlando sent anonymously to the US Attorney’s office in 2012 alleging a supervisor at the State Police stopped him from trying to investigate a former hit man’s possible involvement in illegal gambling. John Martorano, a former hit man for notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, was then due to testify against Bulger.

Federal prosecutors said Orlando’s claims were false, that he was disgruntled, and he initially lied under oath to investigators when asked if he had written the letter. He later confessed when investigators found portions of it on his computer.

Orlando’s attorney, Lenny Kesten, defended him. “I’ve worked with the State Police for a very long time, and Nunzio Orlando is one of the most standup righteous law enforcement officers I’ve ever met and a terrific investigator and asset to the department,” said Kesten.

Captain Brian Gladu

Gladu has three sustained charges across three cases, including in 2016 for improperly running criminal background checks. Gladu, in a series of e-mails, refused to comment on the specifics of his cases and the internal records obtained by the Globe provide no details.

“They are in my opinion old,” Gladu wrote, adding, "if you were [an] active police officer and you were [a] proactive Trooper and you work [in] very busy areas and a busy Barricks [sic] and or a tactical unit you’re going to have complaints [and] you [are] going to have interactions that don’t always appease everyone you make contact with.”

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Detective Lieutenant Kenneth Halloran

In 2012, a trooper was run over and suffered broken bones at a traffic detail in Quincy when he and other officers tried to stop a stolen car, prompting police to shoot at the vehicle and vainly give chase. The injured trooper and the other officers who pursued the car could have used help from Halloran. But he had left his post early without his radio on. The driver was eventually found days later.

The department sustained several payroll violation charges against Halloran. Nonetheless, two years later he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant. A licensed attorney, he continues to work in the role he had in 2012, as the agency’s liaison to lawmakers on Beacon Hill, making $214,000 last year.

Halloran has faced controversy in previous roles. In 2004, Halloran resigned as clerk of Falmouth District Court following an investigation by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, according to a complaint filed against him by an assistant clerk alleging age and sex discrimination.

Two years later, Halloran came under fire at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he was a trustee, over allegations that he steered contracts worth thousands of dollars to friends. The probe ultimately chalked up Halloran’s actions to an “error in judgment,” according to the Cape Cod Times. Halloran declined to comment last week.

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Retired Lieutenant Sean Hodgdon

The Globe’s review focused on officers still on the force. Other officers implicated in past serious misconduct eventually went on to retire on their own terms and are now collecting pensions.

A few years before Hodgdon’s August retirement, an internal probe detailed how Hodgdon and his wife, over the course of a year and a half, allegedly mistreated their neighbors, a family of Caribbean immigrants. The department found Hodgdon shined lights and used a weed whacker to antagonize and harass his neighbors, according to an internal report. He posted threatening messages online and made racist comments about his neighbors and the Black Lives Matter movement. Video and photo evidence would show Hodgdon also lied, verbally and in writing, about several incidents when he was questioned by internal investigators, the report said.

Hodgdon is due to start receiving a pension soon. He could not be reached for comment.


Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.