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Waltham police chief resigns

After being sentenced Wednesday to 18 months of probation for assaulting his wife last year, Thomas LaCroix resigned as police chief of Waltham.

LaCroix had been on unpaid leave since he was convicted by a Concord District Court jury last month of assaulting his wife twice in their Maynard home on June 12, 2012.

Judge J. Elizabeth Cremens sentenced LaCroix earlier in the day Wednesday. The judge ordered LaCroix to undergo an evaluation to determine whether he needs to take a course designed to rehabilitate batterers. He will face another evaluation on whether he will be allowed to drink alcohol during the probation period.


LaCroix was also ordered to stay away from certain witnesses in the case, including Shannon Policano, who testified that she saw LaCroix assault his wife, Andrea, in their garage, and Claire Coen, a coworker of Andrea LaCroix's who said Andrea showed her bruises and told her she was beaten.

LaCroix was convicted of two assault and battery counts last month, even though his wife testified that LaCroix never assaulted her. LaCroix had been on paid administrative leave for over a year when a jury convicted him June 26.

Prosecutor Suzanne Kontz pushed for a two-year probation period, during which time LaCroix would have had to complete a court-assigned batterer's course, which Kontz said would take a minimum of 18 months. Kontz also recommended that LaCroix not be allowed to consume alcohol during the probationary period.

Although Andrea LaCroix testified that her husband never beat her, Kontz described the abuse in the case as continuous and said perpetrators of domestic violence often have a hold or a certain power over the victim.

"This case is not Andrea LaCroix versus Thomas LaCroix, but the commonwealth versus Thomas LaCroix," Kontz said. "Sometimes the commonwealth has to step in to help those who cannot or will not help themselves."


Defense lawyer Thomas Drechsler accused prosecutors of pushing for harsher punishments based on felony charges that LaCroix was acquitted of. He asked for a one-year probation, ending on June 14, 2014.

He also tried to persuade the court not to prohibit LaCroix from consuming alcohol, citing compliance from his client during the yearlong pretrial conditions, which included house arrest, a curfew, and wearing a GPS bracelet.

Outside the courtroom after sentencing, Drechsler said he considered the outcome positive and said he filed paperwork for an appeal.

A jury convicted LaCroix on charges that he assaulted his wife twice — once when he picked her up and threw her in the couple's garage, and another attack that left her with a bloody, swollen lip.

He was acquitted of charges that he slammed her head on a kitchen countertop, that he attacked Policano, and that he threatened to kill both of them if they went to police.

Andrea LaCroix testified for the defense that her husband never assaulted her.

But Policano testified that she saw LaCroix assault his wife in the garage. She, Coen, and another of Andrea LaCroix's coworkers said Andrea LaCroix had told them that her husband had assaulted her. They also said they saw her injuries.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com