Townsend

Retired Townsend Cop Charged With Impersonating Officer, Accosting Woman

Thaddeus Rochette, a former police officer in Townsend, Massachusetts, is accused of pretending to be a current police officer, trying to pay a woman for sex and threatening legal ramifications if she told authorities; Townsend's former police chief previously wrote to town officials that Rochette had engaged in inappropriate conduct with Dunkin' Donuts workers as young as 17

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A retired Massachusetts police officer has been arrested on allegations that he pretended to be a current officer and accosted a woman, trying to pay her for sex.

The Townsend Police Department says Thaddeus Rochette, a 60-year-old former officer, is facing charges of impersonating a police officer, accosting and annoying, sexual conduct for a fee and witness intimidation.

Police say they received a report Wednesday from a worker at a Townsend business accusing Rochette of making sexually inappropriate statements, offering her cash for sex acts, claiming to be an officer with the Townsend Police Department and threatening legal ramifications if she told authorities.

Rochette was arrested Friday on a warrant out of Ayer District Court. He was ordered to be held on $1,000 cash bail ahead of his arraignment Tuesday.

Authorities did not say Friday when Rochette ceased to be a police officer, but a 2013 letter from Erving Marshall, then the town's police chief, to the Board of Selectmen accuses him of inappropriate conduct involving female Dunkin' Donuts workers between the ages of 17 and 23.

Marshall says in the letter that he was told Rochette had been banned from the restaurant's Elm Street location, which prompted him to look into the matter.

The chief cites conversations with workers and parents that classify Rochette's behavior as "creepy." New employees at the Dunkin' Donuts location, "especially the younger girls," were reportedly "warned" about Rochette, Marshall wrote.

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In one incident, Rochette allegedly started a conversation with a worker about his recent divorce and his kids, showing her pictures of his home on his laptop before turning the conversation sexual.

"Rochette started talking to her about being single and making women orgasm and how long he could last," Marshall wrote.

One parent, whose child's age was redacted from the document, said she had found out the previous year about Rochette talking to her daughter at high school football games. That mother said she became uncomfortable when she found Rochette's business card with his personal cellphone number on the back in her daughter's room.

In an interview transcribed in Marshall's letter, Rochette admitted to giving his personal number to the workers, saying it was to provide rides in case they were at a party and they or someone else was drinking.

"And that's it, it's not because I want to date them," he said, according to the transcript.

Rochette denied having any recollection of the conversation about orgasms.

"I think it's rather unusual for a fifty year old man having some of the conversations that you're alleged to be having with these girls that are anywhere from seventeen to twenty-three years old," Marshall wrote that he told Rochette.

The letter also alleges that Rochette, who had been placed on administrative leave amid the investigation, had reached out to a lieutenant after being ordered to have no contact with any member of the department, gauging whether he would have union support for a no confidence vote against Marshall.

"Please don't share this," Rochette allegedly wrote in a text to Townsend Police Lieutenant David Profit. "If the union did vote no confidence ... would you be on our side?"

Marshall concluded with his belief that Rochette had violated the departments rules on conduct unbecoming of an officer, professional image, devotion to duty and insubordination.

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