WILMINGTON — Among a string of serious felony cases considered during the week of May 18, the Suffolk Superior Court grand jury reconvened to return indictments against Shawn McCarthy, 46, of Wilmington, on three charges related to sexually assaulting two women in July 2012. The announcement comes from a press release by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
It was District Attorney Rachael Rollins who personally appealed to Chief Justice Judith Fabricant of the Superior County for the grand jury to resume sessions for similar cases that had been interrupted by the pandemic.
According to the press release from the Suffolk County District Court, “Suffolk County prosecutors had already begun presenting evidence to the panel in the weeks and months prior to the declaration of a State of Emergency on March 10, 2020.”
The grand jury has been allowed to meet only under strict social distancing guidelines. The statement also says that Suffolk County is the only district in the state and one of only a few in the country allowing grand juries to hear felony cases at this time.
The allegations of the Commonwealth are written in plain terms in the aforementioned press release. McCarthy is accused of picking up two women in their early 20s in his police cruiser while working as an armed, uniformed MBTA police officer in 2012. They say that he offered a free ride to the two women near the Aquarium subway stop, drove them around for a while, and violated them in and on the car when they stopped to use the restroom.
The statement continues to explain exactly what sexual acts to which the Commonwealth claims McCarthy subjected the women.
“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.”
While the statement says that McCarthy admitted to picking up the victims, he evidently denies any wrongdoing.
The case has only come up because of information that came out during the hiring process for a law enforcement job for one of the victims in August of 2019.
“The matter was initially referred to BPD and further investigation identified the assailant as a Transit Police officer,” the statement continues.
A grand jury investigation began with the MBTA police following the divulging of the assault. As the case came forward, McCarthy was initially placed on administrative leave late last year before he resigned from the MBTA police.
DA Rollins is quoted in the press release addressing the importance of trust between the community and the police.
“When a member of any law enforcement agency commits such a horrendous act, it erodes the community’s confidence in law enforcement as a whole,” she said. “My office intends to hold this individual accountable as part of our efforts to rebuild the community’s trust in this noble profession.”
She acknowledged the courage of these victims coming forward in this instance.
Rollins also thanked the investigative teams, namely Superintendent Richard Sullivan of the Transit Police Department, for their efforts in diligence and compassion for the victims.
“Sexual assault can happen to anyone. While the victims of any crime are asked to call 911 in an emergency, survivors of sexual violence can also call their local rape crisis center for free and confidential services and to discuss their options.”
The statement from her office also includes the phone number for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline, 800-841-8371, and a website for survivors of sexual violence to search for services available to them at www.janedoe.org/find_help/search.
After arraignment for the three charges made by the Commonwealth against him by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Michael D. Ricciuti remotely on May 21, McCarthy was released on the conditions that there be no contact with the victims or other witnesses and no travel outside of the state without permission. The case is set to return to court on Aug. 10, 2020. McCarthy is represented by Attorney Terrence Kennedy and the DA’s Victim-Witness Advocate assigned is Anne Kelley-McCarthy.