Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. “initiated and directed” a conspiracy to defame a state trooper and unlawfully tamper with a court file on the trooper’s arrest of a judge’s daughter, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.
The civil complaint, filed by lawyers for State Trooper Ryan N. Sceviour in Suffolk Superior Court, says the alleged plot by Early and Sceviour’s supervisors, stemming from Sceviour’s October 2017 arrest of Alli Bibaud, daughter of Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud, was an illegal scheme to “obstruct justice.”
And, the complaint alleges, the plot harmed Sceviour, who was ordered to alter his report on the arrest of Alli Bibaud for drugged driving. Prior court filings show he was forced to remove references to lewd statements she made during the arrest, as well as statements suggesting her father would be upset with her.
The complaint says Sceviour “was reprimanded and was threatened, intimidated, and coerced into committing acts to which he objected because those acts were illegal and unethical.” Sceviour also “suffered damage to his job security, his reputation, and severe emotional distress, as a result of the defendants’ outrageous conduct,” the document says.
Early’s spokesman declined to comment Friday, except to say that “the district attorney’s counsel will respond in court in due course.” A State Police spokesman declined to comment.
Thomas R. Kiley, a lawyer for Early, declined to comment at length when reached by phone.
“State officials do not conspire by doing their jobs,” Kiley said. “We will respond to the complaint in due course in the appropriate forum: Suffolk Superior Court.”
The suit names Early, the Department of State Police, and two retired State Police lieutenant colonels, Francis Hughes and Daniel Risteen, as defendants.
The complaint also asserts that Judge Bibaud “sought no special treatment for his daughter.”
According to the civil filing, Alli Bibaud was arrested on Oct. 16, 2017, and Early, whose office she previously worked in, learned of the matter the next day and reviewed Sceviour’s report.
Early determined that his staff wouldn’t prosecute the case due to Bibaud’s connection to the office, according to the suit. Bibaud was then slated for arraignment in Middlesex County on Oct. 30, and the arrest report was impounded, the complaint says.
But even though Early’s office was no longer officially prosecuting the case, he maintained a keen interest in the proceedings, according to the suit.
“DA Early formulated a plan to obtain an altered police report and to surreptitiously replace the original report with the altered report in the court file,” the complaint says, adding that the veteran prosecutor “demanded that [then-State Police] Col. [Richard] McKeon obtain an altered report so that the Court file could be tampered with and the original report eliminated.”
Then on Oct. 19, Sceviour was called into work on his off day and told he would be reprimanded for the “negative and derogatory statements included within the gist of your report,” the filing says.
Sceviour protested, at one point telling State Police Major Susan Anderson that he believed an order to revise his report was illegal.
“If this was some random person and not a judge’s kid, none of this would be happening,” the complaint quotes Sceviour as saying.
The filing says Anderson replied that she agreed with Sceviour’s concerns but gave him a direct order to change the report anyway.
Later, the suit alleges, Assistant Worcester District Attorney Jeff Travers, at Early’s direction, asked Clerk Magistrate Brendan Keenan to replace the original report with the altered one, but Keenan refused “to participate in the illegal scheme to alter the Court file.”
So Early pivoted, ordering Travers “to improperly bring the case forward on Friday, October 20, the day before it was set to be physically transferred to Middlesex County, without notice to Ms. Bibaud or her lawyer, and to bring an oral Motion to Redact the report,” the lawsuit states.
The complaint says the “actions taken by DA Early to redact the report were improper and unethical.”
Turtleboy Sports, a news website, reported on Oct. 26 that Early had contacted McKeon and “illegally arranged to have the [arrest] report altered,” the suit says. Other outlets picked up on the story, and McKeon ordered a State Police spokesperson to “make false and derogatory statements to the media regarding Trooper Sceviour, particularly that his report included improper statements that violated the standards for report-writing and that required removal,” the complaint said.
The filing also accuses Early of making “false and derogatory statements to the media indicating that Trooper Sceviour had included improper statements in his report. . . . Early stated to the media that Trooper Sceviour’s inclusion of the statements did not contribute to probable cause and needlessly stigmatized Ms. Bibaud. Both statements were false and defamatory.”
McKeon, Anderson, Hughes, and Risteen all abruptly retired after the scandal erupted, according to the lawsuit.
Sceviour seeks unspecified financial damages, the expungement of his reprimand, and a public apology from the defendants for his alleged mistreatment. He has a related lawsuit pending in federal court.Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.