A Republican candidate in Massachusetts has been accused of allowing a fourteen-year-old girl to be illegally strip searched by a police officer while serving as a police sergeant, according to the Boston Globe.
The victim says Jeffrey D. Perry, who is serving his fourth term as a State Representative and running for Massachusetts' 10th Congressional District, was nearby when the illegal strip search happened, failed stop the abuse, and then tried to cover up the incident afterward.
"I cannot stand by silently any longer while what happened to me is discussed in the press," Lisa Allen said in a statement released to the Boston Globe. "It upsets me that Jeff Perry can run for Congress after what he did to me when I was fourteen years old."
The police officer who conducted the illegal strip search, Wareham police officer Scott Flanagan, admitted to the crime and was convicted of civil rights violations and indecent assault of a child in 1993.
The event occurred on May 22, 1991 while Allen and her friends where hanging out near two parked cars. According to a Wareham police report, Perry, Flanagan, and another officer approached them and found that one of the boys Allen was with had marijuana. Flanagan then ordered Allen to lift off her top and unbutton her pants.
"Without any warning or notice to the victim, the defendant then put his hand down the front of her jeans inside her underwear feeling that area of her body," prosecutors said in outlining the charges against Flanagan.
"Perry was nearby when Scott Flanagan illegally strip searched me," Allen's statement continues. "Perry knew what Flanagan did, he had to hear me screaming and crying."
No drugs were found on Allen and she was not arrested.
Perry denies he saw or heard anything.
"I heard nothing that night, and if I did, I would have acted right away," Perry said. "Either way, I'm sorry for Ms. Allen that she has to go through this. I'm sure it's very painful for her. What officer Flanagan did to her was despicable, should never have happened. And he paid the price for that."
Perry was not charged in the assault, but resigned from the Wareham police department 17 days after Flanagan was indicted. Perry says his decision to leave the force had nothing to do with the strip search case.
"Even after Scott Flanagan admitted the truth under oath and pled guilty, Perry never apologized for allowing Flanagan to abuse me," says Allen. "Perry did not care about protecting teen-aged girls in Wareham from police officer Flanagan. Jeff Perry cared only about protecting police officer Flanagan."
After releasing her statement, Perry's opponent, Democratic candidate and Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating, praised Allen for speaking out.
"No one should have to experience the trauma that Ms. Allen experienced, particularly at the hands of those entrusted to protect her," Keating said. "As district attorney, I have a profound respect for the incredible courage it has taken her to step forward and speak out about this offense."
The National Republican Congressional Committee has accused Keating of allowing defendants charged with rape to plead guilty to lesser charges, as the The Patriot Ledger reports.
"Bill Keating's inexcusable record as district attorney makes him wholly unfit to serve as a member of Congress," says National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Joanna Burgos. "With a record of repeatedly letting rapists off the hook and delivering soft sentences to some of society’s most appalling criminals, Keating is left without a leg to stand on in this campaign."
A spokesman for Keating defended his record as a district attorney, saying the accusations are "nothing but a desperate and shameless ploy by Jeff Perry’s Washington friends."
"Jeff Perry was not an honest police sergeant," Allen says at the end of her statement. "He should not be in a position of power."