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Hidden abuse discovered within Boston Police Department


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BOSTON – An investigation by the Boston Globe has discovered the Boston Police Department protected an alleged child molester for over 20 years, despite knowing the were likely guilty.

In 1995, Patrick M. Rose, Sr., was the subject of an internal investigation by the Boston Police Department as they had filed a criminal compliant against him for sexual assault of a 12-year-old. Though the complaint was dropped, the investigation concluded that he likely committed a crime. Yet, despite the conclusion, Rose not only kept his job but eventually was promoted to president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association before retiring in 2018. Last summer, Rose was arrested and charged with 33 counts of sexual abuse of six victims from age 7 to 16 in Suffolk Superior Court. He is currently held in the Berkshire County Jail on $200,000 cash bail.

Through the years, the Boston police has kept secret how they handled the allegations against Rose, though it has come full circle: the father who brought his daughter into the department last summer to report abuse by Rose was the first alleged victim of Rose back in 1995, when the man was 12.

What is troubling is that even after the investigation, Rose was still allowed to have contact with children as an officer, answering calls from children who had come in alleging of abuse and testifying as an arresting officer in a child sexual assault case.

The Boston Police Department had rebuffed requests from the Globe since October of 2020 to release records from Rose’s internal affairs file; the protection goes as high up as the mayor’s office, where former mayor Marty Walsh refused to release the files even after a public rebuke from the state supervisor of public records. Acting mayor Kim Janey, among finding out about the Globe’s findings, has vowed to bring more transparency to the case.

“It is appalling that there was a documented history of alleged child sexual abuse, yet this individual was able to serve out his career as an officer and eventually become the head of the patrolmen’s union for several years,” Janey said. “Under no circumstance will crimes of this nature be tolerated under my administration, and we will not turn a blind eye to injustices as they arise.”

Former Boston Police lieutenant Tom Nolan, now a professor at Emmanuel College, says that the department has failed in doing their due diligence.

“What we’re describing here is an example of an institutional and systemic failure,” said Nolan. ”The department had a responsibility to ensure that this individual was no longer employed in the ranks of the Boston Police Department.”

In a statement from the department, it said it was legally prohibited from commenting “on the facts and circumstances of the 1995 investigation of these horrific allegations.” Yet, the department said that social services and the district attorney’s office were both involved in the 1995 case.

“The investigation into the allegations against Patrick Rose faced significant evidentiary and proof issues that ultimately made it impossible for the district attorney’s office to sustain a conviction and for the department to levy the appropriate discipline,” the statement said. Most of the officials involved in the initial investigation are no longer active and either declined to give comments or did not respond to the Globe. 

Retired deputy superintendent Willie Bradley did comment, however. Bradley, who is Black, said that the BPD has a history of protecting their own from accountability, particularly if they are white. 

“The police department’s refusal to actually deal with this issue is a direct contributor to what (later) happened,” said Bradley, now a lecturer at multiple colleges in the Boston area. “It would have been out there and people would have been aware of it, but they hid it. In my opinion, that’s criminal.”

Rose had been hired in June of 1994 after serving in the National Guard; within a year of working for the department, he had gotten into trouble. A 12-year-old boy had reported to law enforcement that Rose sexually abused him. In more recent court records, prosecutors said the boy did not disclose “the full extent of the abuse” at the time. The case stayed out of the news. “After receiving pressure from the defendant, the child ultimately recanted the abuse,” prosecutors said. The case was then dropped in May of 1996, but an internal investigation ensued afterwards, in which internal affairs “sustained” the administrative charges against Rose, meaning the investigators found sufficient evidence to support the allegations.

Yet despite the evidence, Rose was kept on. While he never rose above the rank of patrolman, he did gain influence within the department as president of the police union, which he became in 2014 and remained until his retirement in 2018. In that time, he had also allegedly assaulted six more children, which came into view last summer. The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association did not respond to requests for comment.

In Rose’s arraignment last summer, he did not speak, instead, keeping his cuffed hands over his face.

Chris Bullock
Chris Bullock
Before joining The Ball Out, Chris Bullock was part of SB Nation's Swish Appeal for nearly three years, covering everything women's basketball. Chris has had the honor of doing live coverage of the WNBA Finals, the NCAA Tournament, and also was given his own column, "The Triple Double". A self-described "foodaholic", Chris lives in the San Diego area with his wife and two daughters, and also hosts his own podcast, "Conscious Cravings", where he speaks about his experience as a mental health advocate.

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