To paraphrase Jesse Jackson, I think God may be finished with Jeff Perry, or at least his run for Congress. You may not have heard of him but he’s running for Congress to succeed Bill Delahunt in Massachusetts 10th district. Back a couple decades ago when he was a police officer he was in the business of enabling and then covering for one of those crooked cops who views it as one of the perks of the job doing unwarranted strip searches of pubescent teenage girls.
The basic outlines of the story have been out there for months. In at least two instances, in one case with a 14 year old and in another with a 16 year old, Perry was on the scene as a police officer under his command, Scott Flanagan, decided that in order to find out whether the girl in question was hiding any drugs he had to search her vagina.
In one instance, according to a civil complaint filed by the girl’s parents, the 14 year old girl was near a cranberry bog in Wareham when they were approached by a group of police officers including Perry and Flanagan. Flanagan asked the girl whether she had any drugs. He then ordered the girl to unbutton her pants or he would arrest her. He then placed his hands inside the 14 year old’s underwear. After this he ordered her to raise her shirt until her breasts were exposed, presumably because he suspected she was hiding drugs in her breasts. No drugs were found.
Later a similar incident happened with Flanagan and another girl. In this case Perry was the commanding officer but not physically present during the incident. Later Flanagan and Perry went to the girl’s home and as they were leaving, Perry told the parents, “Oh, yeah, by the way, [she] pulled her pants down for us.” Perry was never accused of having direct physical contact with the girls in question. But abundant evidence suggests he knowingly enabled Flanagan’s activities and later sought to cover them up.
Flanagan eventually served four years in prison for indecent assault and related charges tied to the two incidents. Perry resigned from the police force 17 days after Flanagan pled out, though he insists his departure was unrelated to the assaults and, according to the Boston Globe, “produced a letter yesterday from the police chief at the time saying he was not under investigation or subject to disciplinary actions when he resigned.”
This is where everything stood until a few days ago, when the then-14 year old victim, Lisa Allen, came forward to tell her story, figuratively if not literally putting a face to the crime. “He had to hear me screaming and crying. Instead of helping me, Jeff Perry denied anything happened,” Allen said in a statement released to the Boston Globe.
Prior to Allen’s revelation, Perry was weathering the story reasonably well. The only public poll had him a mere 3 points behind Democrat William Keating. It’s difficult for me to imagine this latest won’t be the final blow.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.