A Suffolk County grand jury - meeting only with strict adherence to social distancing - this week indicted a Transit Police officer for sexually attacking two women, allegedly as "payment" for giving them a ride around downtown in his cruiser in July, 2012, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
Shawn McCarthy, 46, of Wilmington was arraigned on two counts of rape today. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Michael Ricciuti freed him on personal recognizance on condition he not leave the state without permission and that he stay away from the victims and witnesses. According to the DA's office, officials only learned of the allegations when one of the victims herself revealed it during an interview as she was applying for a law-enforcement job of her own, outside Boston.
According to the DA's office:
The Commonwealth alleges that the victims, then in their early 20s, were drinking in Boston when they encountered McCarthy outside the Aquarium subway station. Against the advice of a fellow officer, McCarthy offered the women a joyride in his marked police cruiser and drove them around the area with blue lights flashing. After stopping in a vacant lot so the women could relieve themselves, McCarthy said he hadn’t risked his job for nothing and he would not take them back downtown until he got something out of it. The women stated that they feared getting in trouble and had no choice but to submit as McCarthy subjected them to sexual acts. Specifically, he penetrated one victim’s vagina with his fingers and his penis as she stood against the parked cruiser; and inserted his fingers into the second victim’s vagina as she sat in the backseat of the vehicle. He then drove them back to the area where they had met and warned them not to tell anyone about the episode.
The DA's office adds:
One of the victims disclosed the assault soon afterward to a male relative. In August 2019 she had to divulge it again while answering required questions as a candidate for a law-enforcement job in another community. Up to that point both victims had believed the perpetrator worked for the Boston Police Department. The matter was initially referred to BPD and further investigation identified the assailant as a Transit Police officer. A grand jury investigation with the MBTA police followed. McCarthy admitted that he had two women in the cruiser on the night in question but denied any wrongdoing. He was placed on administrative leave in December 2019 and resigned soon afterward.
Transit Police themselves arrested McCarthy and he was arraigned online. The grand jury began hearing the case against him earlier this year, but their work was interrupted by the shutdown of the state's courthouses due to Covid-19.
Last month, District Attorney Rollins wrote to Chief Justice Judith Fabricant of the Superior Court requesting that the court allow an emergency convening of the grand jury to continue hearing cases under strict social distancing protocols. Acting at District Attorney Rollins’ request, Chief Justice Fabricant permitted the Suffolk County grand jury to return to service during the week of May 18, 2020. ...
The District Attorney’s office and the court are using social distancing measures, technology and other precautions to ensure that all participants in the process remain safe and healthy. Suffolk County is the only district in Massachusetts and one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the country where grand jurors are currently hearing felony cases for indictment.