A former MBTA Transit Police officer has been indicted for allegedly sexually assaulting two women in July 2012 while he was on duty.
Shawn McCarthy, 46, of Wilmington, was booked at MBTA police headquarters and arraigned remotely on Thursday, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. He was released on the conditions that he have no contact with the victims or other witnesses and that he obtain permission before leaving Massachusetts.
Prosecutors said the victims, then in their early 20s, were out drinking in Boston when they encountered McCarthy outside the Aquarium MBTA station. He allegedly offered the two women "a joyride" in his marked police cruiser and drove them around the area with blue lights flashing.
After stopping at a vacant lot so the women could urinate, prosecutors said McCarthy told them he wouldn't take them back downtown unless he got something out of it. The women said they feared getting in trouble and had no choice but to submit as he sexually assaulted them. He then drove them back to the area where they had met and warned them not to tell anyone.
One of the victims disclosed the assault soon afterward to a relative. She again had to divulge the information while answering required questions for a law enforcement job in another community in 2019.
Prosecutors said McCarthy admitted that he had two women in the cruiser on the night in question but denied the sexual assaults ever took place. He was placed on administrative leave in 2019 and resigned soon afterward.
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“It takes great courage for survivors in a case like this to come forward,” Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said. “Members of law enforcement are held to a higher standard of conduct because the public’s trust in them is vital. Victims turn to police in the aftermath of a crime and police turn the community to help solve crime. When a member of any law enforcement agency commits such a horrendous act, it erodes the community’s confidence in law enforcement as a whole. When law enforcement asks for the community’s help in solving crime, we and the police must be trusted. My office intends to hold this individual accountable as part of our efforts to rebuild the community’s trust in this noble profession.”
The three indictments against McCarthy were returned Monday by members of a grand jury who reconvened this week after their service was interrupted by the closure of Massachusetts courts due to the coronavirus pandemic.