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Solomon, Fountain released without bail after arraignments

By Jill Harmacinski (jharmacinski@eagletribune.com) Nov 10, 2023

Joseph Solomon booking photo from Nov. 3 Massachusetts State Police

SALEM, Mass.- Retired Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon and former police officer Sean Fountain walked out of court as free men after their arraignments on perjury, fraud and related charges Friday morning.

While no bail was set in their pending criminal cases, Judge Elizabeth Dunigan ordered Solomon and Fountain to stay away from any victims in the case, not to possess firearms and not to leave the state of Massachusetts.

Neither Solomon or Fountain appeared to have any family and friends in the courtroom gallery. Five city councilors and city attorney Ken Rossetti attended the arraignment Friday morning.

Solomon and Fountain were indicted by a statewide grand jury Sept. 28 following a joint investigation by Attorney General Andrea Campbell and Essex County District Attorney Paul Tucker. The charges came after years of allegations, investigations and turbulence within the Police Department.

Authorities said Solomon, as police chief, repeatedly used his position of authority to undermine the law for his own benefit, including by hiring six part-time intermittent officers and then appointing them to full-time MPD roles.

Fountain was one of these hires, and he made false statements about his qualifications to be a police officer, according to the joint investigation results.

The indictments handed down “arise from Solomon’s deployment of part-time intermittent officers into full-time positions in circumvention of the civil service laws and his subsequent efforts to deceive others into believing that part-time intermittent officer Sean Fountain had graduated from a police academy when he had not,” authorities said.

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.

Solomon is charged with of perjury by written affidavit (two counts), obtaining unwarranted privileges in violation of the civil service laws (seven counts), Civil Service Law violations (six counts), uttering a forged document, and procurement fraud, authorities said.

Fountain’s charges include forgery, uttering a forged document, perjury, procurement fraud and a conflict of interest law violation, according to the statement.

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.

Fountain was a Methuen city councilor from 2012 through 2017 and later a police officer in Methuen from 2017 to 2020. He was also previously employed by the North Andover Fire Department and Essex County Sheriff’s Department.

He was laid off from MPD along with two other intermittent officers in 2020.

This is a developing story. A full report will appear in the weekend edition of The Eagle-Tribune.