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December 20, 2012

North Andover officer acquitted of intimidating witness charge

PEABODY — North Andover police Officer Thomas F. Driscoll has been found not guilty of witness intimidation after a trial in Peabody District Court last week.

Driscoll, 51, of North Andover, was charged by state police with pressuring a young woman not to testify against the officer’s father, Thomas P. Driscoll. The alleged victim has accused the elder Driscoll of touching her inappropriately on at least a dozen occasions.

Thomas P. Driscoll, 81, of 51 Lincoln St., North Andover, is charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery. He is scheduled to go on trial in February, according to Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

Officer Driscoll told the victim, who was 17 when the alleged touching occurred, that it “was best for the family if she didn’t talk to people outside the family,” according to documents filed with Peabody District Court.

Driscoll was wearing his police uniform when he made this comment to the victim during a meeting, according to a report filed by State Police Lt. Norman Zuk, who investigated the allegation and sought a criminal complaint against the officer.

Driscoll also told the alleged victim during the July 5, 2011 meeting that if she contacted authorities about what had happened to her, it would “ruin the family,” according to Zuk’s report.

The alleged victim, now 18, described Officer Driscoll as a “big, intimidating man,” according to court documents. The young woman said Officer Driscoll apologized to her the next day for his behavior toward her.

Attorney Michael Hogan, who represented Officer Driscoll, argued that his client and his client’s father were not acting “in concert.” In a brief submitted to the court, Hogan stated there was “no evidence that there was a pattern of bad acts committed by this defendant against the victim.”

Last Thursday, Driscoll waived his right to a jury trial. At a bench trial, Judge Richard Mori found him not guilty of the charge.

Zuk obtained the criminal complaint against Officer Driscoll in Lawrence District Court, but Judge Michael Brooks of that court ordered the case transferred to Peabody because of the potential for conflict of interest.

North Andover police Chief Paul Gallagher did not return a telephone inquiry from The Eagle-Tribune. Town Manager Andrew Maylor said he could not comment on Driscoll’s status with the Police Department at that time.

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