On Friday, the chief of police in Stoughton said that three former officers had resigned after admitting to having inappropriate connections with a teenage girl who later committed herself.
On Friday, Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamarra presented the “very worrisome” findings of an 18-month internal affairs inquiry, in which she criticized the “severe misbehavior” of former officers Matthew Farwell, his twin brother William Farwell, and Robert Devine.
McNamarra claimed that every officer involved with the Stoughton Police Explorers program in 2010 had inappropriate connections with and exploited 13-year-old Sandra Birchmore.
McNamarra claims that Birchmore, a 23-year-old woman who was found dead in her Canton apartment on February 4, 2021, had been failed by, abused by, and deceived by the police.
“Ms. Birchmore was a vulnerable person whose undying appreciation for police officers…People with oaths and duties to protect and serve…remained a constant in her life from childhood onward.” Quote from McNamarra. Because of all the attention she received, she started dating men who used her.
Birchmore had been discussing her feelings for Matthew Farwell up until the time of her death. McNamarra directed her deputy chief, Brian Holmes, to investigate whether or not any of her officers had committed any misconduct in the wake of Birchmore’s death.
After investigating her life and death, investigators found “a highly worrisome pattern of behavior toward her,” as McNamarra put it.
McNamarra claims that the Farwell brothers and Devine broke numerous rules by lying and failing to give their full attention to their work.
For several years, Matthew Farwell, then 27 years old, had an intimate online relationship with Birchmore that included several sexually explicit conversations and exchanges, according to McNamarra’s report on the investigation.
William Farwell is accused of having several inappropriate sexual contacts with Birchmore while on the job, as well as exchanging graphic messages and images with her.
McNamarra claimed that William Farwell repeatedly tried to introduce Birchmore to other men, including former Deputy Chief Devine (who had been demoted to patrol officer for misusing power) and a “person who is a police officer in another jurisdiction.”
McNamarra claims that years ago, when Devine was working as a detail officer at an afterschool program, Devine inappropriately touched another student. Next, he became charge of the Explorers program, which educated young people about the police force.
McNamarra claims that the Farwell brothers met Birchmore because they were both program participants as youths and became instructors themselves. That initiative is no longer active.
Matthew Farwell broke up with Birchmore on February 1, 2021, after a “nasty, horrible dispute,” according to the findings of the investigation. The body of the woman was discovered some days later.
McNamarra argued that the Farwell brothers and Devine should never again be allowed to serve as police officers because they had broken their oaths of office. They broke Stoughton PD policy by consistently lying, cheating, and betraying the force.
Abington’s police chief confirmed his department is investigating one of its officers involved in the misbehavior with Birchmore after receiving evidence from Stoughton, and the Farwell brothers and Devine have all resigned.
McNamarra further stated that she will request that the Farwell brothers and Devine be decertified from their police officer positions by the state’s new Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. She added that the events have left her “heartbroken” and “incensed.”
The results, outlined in a 60-page report, were shared with the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office.
The district attorney’s office released a statement reading, “State Police officers and the medical examiner found no indication of foul play in the death of Ms. Birchmore…
No one has been identified in the investigation as having committed a statutory rape that can be prosecuted at this time.
All three officers have resigned from their positions, and the Stoughton Police Chief is taking the necessary steps to revoke their certifications as law enforcement officers. We visited every officer’s house in the department, but not a single one of them would talk to us about the internal affairs report. Boston 25 went to each officer’s house in search of a remark on the internal affairs report, but none were willing to talk.
Investigative results posted on Scribd by the Fox Boston team after interviewing current and former Stoughton police officers