EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 15, 2012

Windham legislator arrested after family dispute

By John Toole

---- — WINDHAM — Rep. Charles McMahon, R-Windham, yesterday said his arrest earlier this week resulted from “a very difficult situation” at home with his 23-year-old son, Shane, an argument that led to Shane making a 911 call to police.

“The bottom line is, there was no emergency of any kind,” McMahon said. “There were no assaults, no threatening.”

McMahon, 58, has an arraignment scheduled Dec. 17 in 10th Circuit Court in Salem. He was released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail.

He said has no intention of resigning from his House seat.

“This doesn’t change what I’m doing at the Statehouse,” McMahon said.

Windham police Capt. Mike Caron said McMahon was arrested Tuesday night at his Floral Street home and charged with obstructing a report of a crime or injury. The incident happened about 11:30 p.m.

It is a Class B misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $1,200. There is no jail time for a Class B misdemeanor conviction.

Police aren’t releasing other details, though Caron characterized the incident as “family related.”

McMahon acknowledged the family trouble.

“We are dealing with a very delicate situation with our son,” he said. “He has (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This has been a challenge to deal with for many, many years,” McMahon said.

Shane McMahon’s behavior late Tuesday night was “out of control,” in his father’s words. He was argumentative, McMahon said.

“He said he was going to call 911 and he felt in his mind that is what he had to do,” McMahon said.

McMahon and his wife, Kimberly, tried to convince Shane that wasn’t necessary.

“We weren’t successful because there is more than one phone in the house,” McMahon said.

McMahon credited Windham public safety officials with “a great response” to the family problem.

“You can’t get in the way of someone who wants to call 911,” McMahon said he has learned. “People do have a right to do what they want to do.”

McMahon said the incident is probably getting more attention than it would for others because he is a public official.

“This was a family issue that sadly, brought an emergency response that was not needed and should not have happened,” he said.

Shane is still living at home, McMahon said. “We are trying to do the best we can. What you try to deal with as a family isn’t always successful.”

The issue did not affect McMahon’s son, Charlie, who has cerebral palsy and lives at home.

“Our family has had multiple health challenges,” McMahon said. “We’ve been dealing with an unusual health situation as long as I can remember.”

McMahon was not prepared to say how he will respond to the charge in court.

“We’re going to go through that process,” he said. “We need to solve this problem, don’t turn our back on it or blame someone else.”

Word of McMahon’s trouble surprised and stunned people in Windham and beyond.

“I was shocked to hear that he even got arrested,” Selectman Roger Hohenberger said. “It’s a shame.”

Hohenberger has served in town government with McMahon, a former selectman.

“He has done a lot for the town,” Hohenberger said. “He has always been an advocate for the people.”

McMahon recently fought to keep the skatepark open and has opposed the National Guard’s efforts to develop a facility at the site of the Applewood golf course.

He is known in town as an advocate for the business community and economic development, Griffin Park improvements and has had tried to protect neighborhoods affected by the Interstate 93 widening.

Former state Sen. Bob Letourneau of Derry has known McMahon for years.

“I was really surprised by the arrest,” Letourneau said.

He described McMahon as a hard-working legislator who is always respectful, even when disagreeing with his peers.

“I’m shocked,” Letourneau said.

McMahon may not have to resign, he said.

“You don’t have to resign your seat,” Letourneau said. “You are innocent until proven guilty.”

Even if McMahon is convicted of the charge, he might not have to give up his seat, Letourneau said, “If it’s not related to his duties.”