EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 17, 2012

Salem official to resign after conviction

McDougall found guilty, apologizes for 'mistake'

SALEM — Patrick McDougall, found guilty Friday of obstructing government administration, said yesterday he would step down from the town Budget Committee and Zoning Board of Adjustment and focus on his family.

McDougall, 37, was charged with the misdemeanor crime after he argued with paramedics who responded to his wife’s 911 call late June 25.

Jane McDougall requested help because she was suffering from a severe migraine. But her husband told paramedics he was refusing treatment on her behalf, citing the family’s lack of medical insurance to cover the cost and his desire to drive her to the hospital himself.

Things escalated from there. His wife made a second 911 call while he argued with paramedics. Police were called. Jane McDougall finally signed a release form, refusing medical treatment, and was driven to the hospital by her husband.

After a trial last week that lasted just over two hours, McDougall was found guilty of the Class B misdemeanor by 10th Circuit Court Judge Michael Sullivan.

“The firefighters, paramedics and officers on the scene that night handled the situation with a great deal of restraint and compassion,” Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday. “So, we were obviously pleased with the verdict, that the facts came out and that there was a guilty finding in the matter.”

In a phone interview yesterday, McDougall, for the first time, acknowledged his mistake and said he would resign from both his municipal board seats.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “People have the right to be represented by someone who isn’t hampered by personal issues. It’s time to acknowledge there might have been a mistake made.”

On the night of the incident, McDougall said, he was “exhausted” from caring for his ailing wife and stressed over financial difficulties. But, he said, he meant no harm.

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