Former Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon and former Methuen Police Officer Sean Fountain were indicted Thursday by a statewide grand jury convened at the request of the attorney general’s office.
The indictments stem from a request last January by Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker for a joint investigation with the state attorney general’s office.
Tucker said in a statement, “In January, after review of various reports from the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission and Office of the Inspector General’s Office outlining past serious misconduct by Methuen Police Department officials, District Attorney Paul Tucker contacted state counterparts at the attorney general’s office to form a partnership to further investigate. This resulted in a month’s long investigation and grand jury proceedings, resulting in multiple indictments.”
Methuen Mayor Neil Perry and Police Chief Scott J. McNamara applauded the legal movement. Perry called it “truly a watershed day in the history of the City of Methuen,” adding the indictments against each “underscores that no one is above the law.” McNamara said, “One of my most pressing priorities since my first day as police chief has been our work to regain the trust of our community.”
The indictments arise from Solomon’s elevating part-time, intermittent officers into full-time positions in defiance of civil service laws and subsequent efforts to deceive others into believing Fountain graduated from a police academy when he had not. The indictments against Fountain stem from his misrepresentations about his training credentials, including in his employment application and in a search warrant affidavit, and for the false and forged training certificate he created to deceive others into believing that he was fit to serve as a police officer at any level.
Essex County Assistant District Attorney Marina Moriarty and Assistant Attorney General Douglas Sheehan are the lead prosecuting attorneys for their respective agencies.
Solomon now faces two counts of perjury by written affidavit, seven counts of obtaining unwarranted privileges in violation of civil service laws, six counts of civil service law violations, uttering a forged document and procurement fraud. For his part, Fountain faces charges of forgery, uttering a forged document, perjury, procurement fraud and a conflict-of-interest law violation.
According to a press release, an investigation showed Solomon allegedly repeatedly misused his position of authority as police chief to repeatedly undermine the law for his own benefit, including by hiring six part-time intermittent officers to the Methuen Police Department and then appointing them to full-time roles. Fountain was one of these hires, and he made false statements about his qualifications to be a police officer.
Solomon and Fountain also joined together to perpetuate a lie by falsely claiming that Fountain was a civil service officer. Solomon perjured himself on two occasions stating that Fountain was a civil service officer in annual civil service reports mandated by state law.
Solomon and Fountain will be arraigned in Essex County Superior Court at a later date.