PEABODY — A now-former court officer from Methuen, pleaded guilty after admitting he lied to police investigating assaults on two cab drivers and a developmentally disabled man in Newburyport two years ago.
A friend, an assistant clerk magistrate for the Ipswich District Court, will also admitted lying to officers and will resign from her job.
David Vitale, 54, of 51 Anderson Lane, Methuen, will serve two years of probation, with a condition that he perform 150 hours of community service.
Assistant clerk Alison Story Desmond, 56, of 61 Storey Ave., Newburyport, admitted that prosecutors would have been able to prove that when Newburyport police Inspector Michael Sugrue questioned her about the identities of three men, including David Vitale and his nephew, who had left her home in a cab, she claimed that she did not know them. Her case was continued without a finding for a year; if she stays out of further trouble, it will be dismissed. Desmond, who has been on unpaid leave from her $85,000-a-year job, will now be required to resign.
A Peabody District Court judge called both cases “particularly egregious” given the defendants’ roles as officers of the court.
Vitale had worked as a court officer with Desmond at the Newburyport courthouse on Parker Street before being transferred to Lowell District Court. But when questioned by police on the night of the assaults, he claimed he had never been to Newburyport before, and did not know the woman whose apartment he’d just left.
Vitale was suspended from his job several months after the incident and resigned earlier this year.
Both were apparently trying to protect Vitale’s nephew, Ryan Nimblett, who also goes by the name Ryan Malgeri, and another young man, Robert Barron.
The four, investigators later learned, had gone to a gambling night at the Elks Club in Newburyport, then to Desmond’s condo on the evening of Sept. 16 into Sept. 17, 2011. There, Vitale and the two younger men called a cab, prosecutor Christina Pujals Ronan told Judge Stacey Fortes-White.