For the first time since an NBC10 Boston investigation about his 20-year history of evictions and unpaid debts, Detective Sgt. Robert Kennedy showed up for work at the Stoneham Police Department on Tuesday morning. By noon, town leaders had sent him home.
John Clifford, the labor counsel for Stoneham, confirmed the high-ranking officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the results of an internal investigation.
Earlier this month, an NBC10 Boston investigation detailed how Kennedy and his girlfriend racked up more than $50,000 of unpaid rent, while being evicted from apartment complexes in Stoneham and Reading.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
Over that three-year period, payroll records show Kennedy made more than half a million dollars as a police officer.
According to housing court records, the pattern of stiffing landlords stretched back two decades.
The NBC10 Boston investigation also raised questions about Kennedy's testimony in housing court and how he and his girlfriend received $10,000 from the state's rental assistance program.
As we reported last week, Kennedy had called in sick every day since an NBC10 Boston crew approached him outside the police station on Jan. 26.
According to an email we obtained via public records request, Kennedy sent a message to the entire police department about an hour after that exchange.
"Dear fellow colleagues, but most importantly my friends," the email began. "It's with sheer embarrassment that I write this. In the next few hours or days, you will see a story in the media about me and some poor financial decisions. My family and my career I hold with the upmost respect and love. I ask that you be nonjudgmental and recognize my full ownership in this situation."
In his original statement to NBC10 Boston, Kennedy asserted that his personal finances are "nobody's business."
Clifford did not have a timetable when asked how long the town's internal investigation is expected to last.
Ryan Kath can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.
Have a tip for the NBC10 Boston Investigators? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.