Lawyers for former State Police colonel Richard McKeon and a former major urged a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit against them Thursday, saying the officials did not violate the constitutional rights of two troopers who were ordered to make changes to a police report about the arrest of a judge’s daughter.
McKeon, who resigned last November after an outcry over the altered report, ordered the changes after a Worcester judge agreed to impound the police account of the October 2017 arrest of Alli Bibaud, his lawyer said.
“What Colonel McKeon did here was order a revision to a report that had already been impounded . . . to avoid pretrial publicity that was adverse to the defendant and to the prosecution,” McKeon’s lawyer, Kristen Scammon, told Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. in federal court in Boston. “He ordered the redactions because there was unnecessary information in that report that was not related to the criminal charges.”
On Oct. 16, 2017, State Trooper Ryan Sceviour arrested Bibaud, the 30-year-old daughter of Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud, in Worcester for drunken driving and driving under the influence of drugs. Another trooper, Ali Rei, a drug recognition expert, arrived at the scene to assist with the arrest.
In their reports, the troopers wrote that Bibaud admitted she had traded sex for heroin. Sceviour wrote that Bibaud ranted that her father was a judge who would be furious about her arrest.
Two days later, Sceviour said, his supervisor called him in on his day off and said he was being reprimanded for “the negative and derogatory statements” about Bibaud.
Major Susan Anderson then told him to remove the statements from the report and later shredded Rei’s report, according to a lawsuit Sceviour and Rei filed in November. They allege that McKeon, Anderson, and other officials pressured them to falsify official records to protect Bibaud.
Anderson and McKeon both resigned after media reports about the handling of the arrest.
In court on Thursday, lawyers for McKeon and Anderson said the lawsuit has no merit because neither trooper was adversely affected by the orders.
Sceviour “was not terminated,” Scammon said. “He did not lose rank. He did not lose pay. He did not lose any benefits.”
Timothy Burke, Anderson’s lawyer, said the impoundment order happened in open court, and a second judge later accepted a redacted version of the report.
Burke dismissed the allegations that the troopers were the victims of a conspiracy to protect Alli Bibaud and said police officials were acting in a manner they believed was consistent with that impoundment order.
Bibaud’s lawyer notified State Police about the impoundment order and the concerns about the statements and the report, Burke said.
“When issues have been raised in open court that there is potentially prejudicial information in the report, you have to do something about it,” Burke said. ‘That’s the nub of this entire case that’s turned into a media circus.”
Both a Worcester prosecutor and Bibaud’s defense lawyer requested that her statements to the troopers be redacted from the report, according to the troopers' lawsuit. A judge allowed that motion.
Sceviour’s lawyer, Leonard Kesten, said that a jury should be allowed to determine whether there was any wrongdoing against the troopers.
Kesten has alleged that the order to alter the police report came from the highest levels of law enforcement, including Daniel Bennett, the state’s secretary of public safety and security, who is not named in the lawsuit.
“If that’s true, that strikes at the very heart of our judicial system that . . . top law enforcement officials in our Commonwealth conspired to alter an official court document, to destroy it, to create a new one,” Kesten said., “and to lean on this young trooper and trooper Rei . . . to be involved in this conspiracy.”
Felix Browne, a spokesman for Bennett, said Bennett “never asked nor was he ever asked to do anything with the police report in question.”Maria Cramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @globemcramer.