Two more high-ranking officials at Massachusetts State Police retire
Two high-ranking Massachusetts State Police officials retired suddenly Friday, in the latest fallout from the controversy over how police handled the October arrest of a judge’s daughter.
One of the officials, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Risteen, the third in command at the agency, is also linked to a separate, ongoing controversy at the agency. Risteen and Major Susan Anderson, the commander of the Holden barracks, retired with general discharges, State Police spokesman David Procopio announced late Friday afternoon.
Procopio said the departures were part of a command staff “restructuring.”
Risteen and Anderson were both accused last fall of taking part in the decision to order a trooper to remove embarrassing information from the arrest report of Alli Bibaud, a judge’s daughter. In November, Superintendent Richard McKeon and his deputy, Francis Hughes, both retired following Globe stories on the altered arrest report.
Risteen has also been identified by multiple sources as a former boyfriend of a trooper who is the subject of a separate internal affairs investigation into how she was hired. That trooper, Leigha Genduso, testified in federal court in 2007 that she sold marijuana and laundered money. She was hired as a State Police dispatcher the following year and became a trooper in 2014.
Genduso was suspended without pay on Friday. She had been placed on paid administrative leave earlier this week.
Risteen and Genduso could not be reached for comment.
The State Police officials implicated in the earlier controversy, involving the daughter of a Dudley District Court judge, have defended their actions.
On Friday, Anderson’s attorney, Timothy Burke of Needham, said, “The facts will ultimately demonstrate that there was nothing she did that was inappropriate or wrong.” Her actions in the Bibaud case were “a result of instructions that were given to her and she was required to comply with them through the chain of command at the State Police,” Burke said.
The command staff retirements and investigations came amid scrutiny of the state’s largest law enforcement agency.
McKeon came under fire after he acknowledged ordering Trooper Ryan Sceviour to edit a report Sceviour wrote. Sceviour arrested Bibaud, 30, in Worcester for drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs.
Sceviour and another trooper, Ali Rei, filed suit in November against McKeon, Anderson, and other officials, alleging that the ranking officers pressured them to falsify official records to protect Bibaud, whose father is Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud.
The troopers claimed they were ordered to remove Bibaud’s admission that she traded sex for heroin, as well as her rant that her father was a judge who would be furious about her arrest.
Sceviour was reprimanded, as was his supervisor, Jason Conant, who approved the report. But Colonel Kerry Gilpin ordered the reprimands removed from their files.
McKeon has insisted he did nothing wrong, saying the information that was deleted was extraneous and that he was demonstrating sensitivity to a victim of opioid abuse. He said he had ordered police reports altered many times before.
Attorney Lenny Kesten, who represents Sceviour and Rei, said he is “not surprised” that Risteen and Anderson are leaving. “What is shocking is that it took so long,” he said. He alleged that Anderson gave the orders to alter the report and said the demand came from Risteen and other ranking law enforcement officials.
“Are the State Police still maintaining that no one did anything wrong?” he said.
When McKeon and Hughes retired, they were given honorable discharges. Upon retiring Friday, Risteen and Anderson received general discharges.
A State Police spokesman said the general discharges were issued because of pending investigations by Attorney General Maura Healey and Kevin Burke, a former Essex district attorney, now tasked with leading an independent internal review for the State Police of the handling of the Bibaud case.
“Depending on the outcome of those investigations, the status of their discharges may be changed,” said spokesman David Procopio.
The separate State Police controversy erupted earlier this week. The department initially suspended Trooper Genduso with pay and launched an internal investigation into her hiring after details of her past were posted Monday on a blog, Turtleboysports.com.
Genduso was identified in federal court filings as a co-conspirator in a marijuana trafficking case, but evaded criminal charges in exchange for testifying in 2007 against a former fiancé, Sean Bucci.
Genduso acknowledged laundering money, smoking pot every day, and gift-wrapping pounds of marijuana before delivering it to a customer, according to a transcript of her testimony.
That case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration with help from State Police. Yet, in 2008, just a year after her testimony, Genduso was hired as a dispatcher for the Massachusetts State Police. And since 2014, she has served as a state trooper.
Around the time she became a trooper, Genduso was in a relationship with Risteen, who was then a major, according to colleagues and public records.
Police declined this week to release details on the Genduso investigation or answer questions about how someone involved in such a high-profile criminal case could get hired and promoted within the agency.
It’s unclear how Genduso passed a background check, which includes questions about whether an applicant has ever used or sold drugs.
Procopio declined to comment on whether Genduso disclosed her past.