A lawsuit filed Thursday by two of the sexual assault survivors of Patrick M. Rose Sr. claims that the state’s child welfare agency investigated him for sexual abuse in the early 1990s, years before he became a police officer, but failed to take steps to prevent him from having any contact with children.
The Department of Children and Families investigated him again in 1995 — after he had been on the force for a year — and “concluded that the evidence supported the allegation that Rose sexually abused” a boy, but still failed to take steps to keep him from children, according to the lawsuit filed at US District Court in Boston.
Rose, who remained on the force and would go on to become head of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association before retiring in 2018, was charged in 2020 with molesting six children. He pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.
The claims against DCF are part of a sweeping 60-page complaint by two victims who said they were sexually abused as children by Rose, and who blamed city and state authorities for failing to stop him from assaulting them and other children for decades.
DCF agreed to let a judge vacate a restraining order against Rose in 1996 that was meant to keep him away from four children, including the boy who reported being abused, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit also points to what the victims described as failures by the City of Boston and its police department in their handling of molestation allegations leveled at Rose, after a police internal investigation determined the abuse allegations credible, and the city’s Office of Labor Relations later upheld those findings, the complaint said.
The lawsuit names the City of Boston, Boston police, the police union, and the state Department of Children and Families as defendants, as well as Rose’s wife and commanders in the police department and the police union, including former commissioner Paul Evans and former union head Thomas J Nee.
“At every level — city, state — every agency failed these children, and they had to endure decades of abuse,” attorney Janine D. Kutylo, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case, said in an interview. “Multiple families were victimized.”
City and state officials said Thursday that they would not comment on pending litigation. Evans and Nee could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit follows a Globe investigation published in April 2021 that found Boston police allowed Rose to remain on the force for two decades after an internal investigation concluded that he probably sexually abused a child. The Globe reporting also showed that state child welfare investigators believed in 1995 that there was evidence Rose had molested a child. The lawsuit Thursday was the first assertion that DCF knew about sex abuse allegations before Rose became a police officer. Boston would not say whether the department was similarly aware of the allegations.
In April 2022, Rose was sentenced to more than a decade in state prison after he pleaded guilty to nearly two dozen charges in connection with abusing six children for decades. For most of the time that the abuse occurred, Rose was a police officer — he joined the department in 1994 and retired in 2018. He also was president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association from 2014 to 2018.
The plaintiffs, a man and a woman, are not named in the federal lawsuit, and through their attorneys, declined to comment.
They said Rose sexually abused them during the 1990s, when they were children. They also claimed that Rose sexually abused four other children from at least 1990 to 2020, according to the complaint.
The complaint also names Rose and his wife, Frances, who was accused of doing nothing to prevent him from molesting children.
“Frances Rose knew or should have known that Rose was sexually abusing Plaintiffs,” the complaint said. An attorney for Frances Rose could not be identified and she has not responded to previous requests for comment.
According to the complaint, Boston police who investigated Rose in November 1995 were told by Frances Rose that her husband had been investigated by the Department of Children and Families for abusing a child “3 or 4 years prior,” the filing said.
The federal lawsuit did not include details of the earlier DCF investigation.
DCF launched a separate investigation into Rose in 1995 and concluded that Rose had abused a 12-year-old, and referred the case to the Suffolk district attorney’s office.
“As a result of the DCF and DCF Defendants’ failure to respond to the 1992 and 1995 sexual abuse complaints, John Doe and Jane Doe . . . continued to be sexually abused by Rose,” the complaint said.
Boston police ultimately filed a criminal complaint against Rose for indecent assault and battery on the 12-year-old boy. But the boy later recanted his report; prosecutors said during Rose’s most recent trial that the child was pressured by Rose to change his story.
Rose was ultimately placed on pretrial probation for a year in the 1995 case, and ordered to attend therapy, the complaint said. The charge was later dismissed.
But neither the city nor police took steps to ensure Rose complied with the court-ordered therapy, the complaint said. Police and the state child welfare agency agreed to vacate the restraining order against Rose in February 1996, the complaint said.
Boston police’s Internal Affairs Division “sustained the allegations against Rose” in June 1996, but officials including then-commissioner Evans did not move to fire Rose, the complaint said.
Nearly a year later, an attorney representing Rose and the police union sent affidavits from the male abuse survivor and Frances Rose denying any sexual allegations by the officer, and demanded Rose be put back on full duty. In October 1997, the union filed a grievance, contending Rose had been placed on administrative duty without just cause, the complaint said.
While the city’s Office of Labor Relations denied the grievance, and reported in May 1998 “that BPD appropriately placed Rose on administrative duties,” Rose was reinstated to full duty, the complaint said.
“As a result of the City and BPD Defendants’ failure to respond to the 1995 sexual abuse complaint, Rose was not removed from his position as a Boston police officer and continued to sexually abuse John Doe and Jane Doe,” the complaint said.
The failures of the city, Boston police, and the state Department of Children and Families meant that “John Doe, Jane Doe, and the Child Victims lived in a state of daily, perpetual danger by Rose, resulting in years of sexual abuse,” according to the filing.
Andrew Ryan of the Globe staff and correspondent Ellie Wolfe contributed to this report.
John Hilliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.