Following a series of news reports on a Natick Police officer suspended for an alleged assault on a department dispatcher, the town has issued a press release outlining a timeline of how it’s been handling the situation since mid-2020. The town’s handling of the situation has come under scrutiny from the reports.
The Framingham Unfiltered blog has been tracking this case since last year, and this week WBUR and others have published reports gaining greater notice. The reports describe an alleged assault by the police department’s James Quilty in 2020; the 20-plus-year veteran of the force was indicted late last year on 3 counts of indecent assault and battery in Middlesex Superior Court.
The officer has been the subject of Natick Select Board executive sessions (these are held behind closed doors), as listed on meeting agendas over the past couple of years.
The town’s statement issued on Nov. 1 and listed on the Select Board’s Nov. 2 meeting agenda, reads:
The Town of Natick is committed to ensuring fair and transparent communications relating to an incident involving Natick Police Officer James Quilty, who is currently out on unpaid suspension. This update provides a detailed timeline demonstrating the responsiveness of Natick Town officials, while also operating within the limitations imposed by ongoing legal matters and statutory requirements.
As jointly stated by Select Board Chair Paul Joseph, Town Administrator James Errickson, and Police Chief James Hicks, “The Town of Natick strives to be transparent and as timely as possible with all updates provided to the residents of Natick and the public at large. We’re providing this timeline and accompanying documentation in an effort to summarize all shareable facts, as the law permits, given multiple, active legal proceedings pertaining to this incident. We fully appreciate the significance and sensitivity of this matter. We’re confident that this timeline illustrates our earnest attempt to balance transparent communications and the realities of legal due process.”
The release includes a timeline of events and links to several relevant documents.
Update (11/3/22): The Natick Select Board at its Nov. 2 meeting issued the following statement about its press statement, condemning sexual harassment and assault, and explaining how it handles sensitive information.
No public speak was allowed on the subject at the Nov. 2 Select Board meeting because it was an agenda item, and because, the Board won’t engage in public conversation about it at this point. So 1-way communication on this for now.