By Jill Harmacinski (email@example.com) Sep 28, 2023
BOSTON – After years of allegations and investigations, former Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon and former Methuen Police Officer Sean Fountain were indicted by a statewide grand jury Thursday.
The indictments against Fountain stem from his misrepresentations about his training credentials, including in his employment application and in a search warrant affidavit, and for the false and forged training certificate he created to deceive others into believing that he was fit to serve as a police officer at any level, according to the statement.
With these indictments, Solomon now faces two counts of perjury by written affidavit, seven counts of obtaining unwarranted privileges in violation of the Civil Service laws, six counts of Civil Service Law violations, uttering a forged document, and, finally, procurement fraud.
Fountain, meanwhile, faces charges of forgery, uttering a forged document, perjury, procurement fraud and a conflict of interest law violation, according to the statement.
A Methuen city councilor from 2012 through 2017 and later a police officer in Methuen from 2017 to 2020, Fountain was previously arraigned in Lawrence District Court on April 6, 2023 on eight counts, including conspiracy, forgery and violating employee standards of conduct.
He is accused, in part, of forging a document showing he attended a police academy which he did not, following his questionable hiring by Solomon, authorities said.
Court paperwork filed in Lawrence District Court listed Fountain, as well as a co-conspirator whose name was impounded by a judge. Solomon and Fountain will be arraigned in Essex County Superior Court at a date to be determined.
Solomon had a 35-year career with the Methuen police department. Current Chief Scott McNamara, who had a previous 25-year career with the Lawrence Police Department, became Methuen chief in 2021.
Campbell and Tucker, in the joint statement, said “the investigation demonstrated that Solomon had repeatedly misused his position of authority as police chief to repeatedly undermine the law for his own benefit, including by hiring six, part -time intermittent officers to the Methuen Police Department and then appointing them to full-time roles. Fountain was one of these hires, and he made false statements about his qualifications to be a police officer.”
When he applied for his position, “Fountain falsely claimed in his application that he had graduated from the Northeast Regional Police Institute (NERPI) back in 1996. When questioned about his graduation from NERPI years later, Fountain produced a forged NERPI certificate documenting his graduation from the part-time police academy in May 1995, which he had not done either. Solomon knew Fountain’s certificate was forged yet acted as if it was a real document,” according to the statement.
The statement also says Solomon and Fountain joined together to perpetuate a lie by falsely claiming that Fountain was a Civil Service officer. Solomon perjured himself on two occasions stating that Fountain was a Civil Service officer in annual civil service reports mandated by state law, according to the joint statement.
“May justice prevail,” said Methuen At-large City Councilor D.J. Beauregard when he learned of the indictments Thursday evening. Mayor Neil Perry said Thursday was “truly a watershed day in the history of the City of Methuen.
“Today’s announcement of the indictments against former police chief Joseph Solomon and former City Council Chair Sean Fountain underscores that no one is above the law. Methuen continues to expend every reasonable effort to steer the city away from the abuses and wrongdoings of the past and likewise, the city looks forward to seeking justice against those who have harmed the City,” said Perry, who released a joint statement with chief Mcnamara.
Perry praised a “team within the city, whose investigative work helped get the city to this point. Police Chief Scott McNamara, Captain Eric Ferreira, Chief Administrative and Financial Officer Maggie Duprey, City Solicitor Kenneth Rossetti, and former Assistant City Solicitor Peter McQuillan worked diligently together to help get us to this point.”
“I also want to thank the patience and attention of the 53,000 citizens of Methuen. Many of them personally reached out to the District Attorney to demand justice when news broke about the investigation. To those citizens, please know that your representatives heard you, and you deserve to have a local government that is above reproach,” Perry said.
McNamara stressed since taking over as chief in 2021 “one of my most pressing priorities since my first day as Police Chief has been our work to regain the trust of our community.”
“No one, including police chiefs, are above the law in this community and Commonwealth. I would like to thank the Office of Attorney General Andrea Campbell and Essex District Attorney Paul Tucker and their staffs for their diligent, professional work throughout this investigation. I pledge that every man and woman in our department will continue to work every day to earn the support of those we serve, and to move beyond the abuses of the past,” McNamara said.
Prosecutors assigned to the cases are Assistant Attorney General Douglas Sheehan of the White Collar and Public Integrity Division and Essex County Assistant District Attorney Marina Moriarty.