Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on Tuesday said she has now read the full, unredacted internal affairs report of Patrick M. Rose, the former Boston police officer and union president, who last month pleaded guilty to molesting half a dozen children over several decades.
Her comments came just over a week after a television interview during which she said she had read only the redacted version of the report, and seemed to suggest she was prevented from accessing the document in its entirety. At the time of that interview, the mayor had not yet read the report, Wu aides said Tuesday — but not because there were any legal obstacles keeping her from doing so. She read the full report this past weekend, aides said.
During an interview on WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio” Tuesday, Wu said she has read the report and is “learning to be a clearer communicator.”
“I think I was misinterpreted a little bit . . . I’m the chief executive of the city, I have the authority and the ability to read and access all documents that are owned by the city of Boston,” she said.
“What I was trying to express [was] that we need to be very intentional” about reading sensitive material, she added.
The episode was notable for an administration that has emphasized the importance of transparency and prioritized police reform. The city has released just 13 pages from a 100-plus page internal affairs file on Rose. The remaining pages were withheld to protect the identity of the victims, officials have said. Last year, The Boston Globe reported that Rose was allowed to keep his badge for 20 years after top police officials determined he more than likely sexually abused a child in 1995.
Rose, a longtime Boston police officer and former president of the patrolmen’s union, last month was sentenced to serve at least 10 years in prison, capping a case that exposed deep institutional failings within the city’s Police Department, which has a history of protecting officers accused of misconduct.
Without access to the full report, the media and the public have limited insight into how Rose was permitted to stay in the role despite the serious accusations.
During a WCVB interview aired May 15, Wu told Janet Wu and Ed Harding she had seen only redacted versions of the report. Asked whether she would see the unredacted version, the mayor said there are specific rules limiting who can read certain documents in specific instances, noting that even members of the city’s new civilian review board have to obtain certain certifications to access sensitive material.
In the days following the interview, Wu’s administration declined to answer questions from a Globe reporter about what prevented her from reading the unredacted report. Was it state law? A stipulation in a union contract? Department protocol?
“We have nothing to add to what the mayor said during her appearance,” a Wu spokesman said in an e-mail response to the Globe last week.
This week, aides said Wu had always been entitled to read the report, but simply hadn’t at the time of the WCVB interview.
Asked on WGBH Tuesday whether she would release the full report, Wu demurred. She said she and her aides are still reviewing the file and weighing legal restrictions on what they can release to the public.
“I’m working with the team to figure out exactly what the right balance is,” she said. “Frankly, the documents don’t speak very much to, I think, some of the questions that still remain unanswered. There are other sources of information that we will probably need to push on on that front.”
Danny McDonald of the Globe staff contributed to this report.