EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 4, 2014

Reams faces allegations involving officer

Allegations focus on state's Laurie List

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — BRENTWOOD — Rockingham County Attorney James Reams faces new allegations as he seeks to clear his name in the wake of an attempt to permanently remove him from office.

Reams, investigated for sexual harassing female employees, is now accused by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office of removing the name of former Salem police Officer Eric Lamb from the state’s Laurie List.

The list, maintained by each county attorney in the state, includes the names of law enforcement officers with credibility concerns.

Those officers could jeopardize a criminal case if asked to testify in court, according to Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti.

Boffetti, who served as interim county attorney during Reams’ six-month suspension that ended in May, confirmed yesterday that Lamb’s name was recently returned to the list after being “erroneously” listed as cleared.

“There is a new issue that’s been raised that Mr. Reams removed someone from the list that should still be on it,” Boffetti said.

An internal memo from Boffetti, dated May 1, asks county prosecutors to notify the Attorney General’s Office of any cases they have involving Lamb in which he was called to testify as a witness.

Lamb is the husband of Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway, a longtime member of the office and a candidate to replace Reams as county attorney. Neither Conway nor Lamb could be reached yesterday for comment.

Boffetti declined to comment further, referring questions to Associate Attorney General Jane Young. She confirmed the new allegations against Reams, but said she could not comment specifically about Lamb or any officer on the Laurie List.

The officer’s name was redacted from a 29-page complaint released by the Attorney General’s Office yesterday.

Young also would not comment when asked if Conway is being investigated in connection with the case.

Only Reams and his legal assistant were known to have access to the Laurie List, but it’s not believed the assistant would make changes unless directed to do so by the county attorney, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The new allegations against Reams, filed three weeks ago, will be presented to Merrimack Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara in August . That’s when he hears the Attorney General Office’s request to remove the 15-year county attorney from office, Young said.

In addition to the sexual harassment allegations, the Attorney General’s Office also accuses Reams of mishandling county funds and mismanaging his office.

Reams said yesterday he could not comment on Laurie List cases. He said his office has been as “busy as ever” since he was reinstated a month ago. He has decided not to seek re-election in the September primary.

Lamb, a 16-year member of the Salem Police Department, was suspended in 2008 and demoted from sergeant to master patrolman after he failed to comply with orders and lied to authorities.

He filed a lawsuit against the town, police Chief Paul Donovan and Capt. John Lozowski, accusing the two police officials of trying to force him from his job.

Lamb acknowledged in the lawsuit that he was accused of not showing up for a police assignment Aug. 1, 2008, and failing to comply with orders on at least three occasions. He was terminated three months later.

Lamb fought for his job and challenged placement of his name on the Laurie List. He and the town later settled the case. Lamb was granted back pay, sick leave and vacation time. He also was reinstated under the condition he agree to resign, but his name was to remain on the Laurie List, according to court documents.

Concerns about Lamb’s credibility were raised in 2009, prior to the second-degree murder trial for Scott Hanks, 50 of Salem. Hanks was charged with fatally stabbing William Solberg of Pelham in April 2008.

Lamb was one of the first officers to arrive at the murder scene. Prosecutors decided they wouldn’t call Lamb as a witness after learning of the credibility concerns. Hanks pleaded guilty before the case went to trial.

Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday the department could not comment on Lamb’s employment as part of the settlement reached with the former officer.

Patten did say the Salem Police Department has been in contact with the Attorney General’s Office. But he said the Laurie List issue involves the county attorney’s office, not his department.

Reams' complaint