3 Stoughton cop had inappropriate relationship with girl who later died of suicide, chief says


Stoughton police chiefs said on Friday that three Stoughton police officers had an inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl who committed suicide years later.

Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamara announced Friday the “extremely disturbing” results of an 18-month internal affairs investigation, citing former police officers Matthew Farwell, his twin brother William Farwell and Robert Farwell. accused Divine of “gross misconduct.”

According to McNamara, all of the officers were in a relationship with and exploiting 13-year-old Sandra Birtimore, who enrolled in the Stoughton Police Expedition Program in 2010.

Birtimore, 23, was found dead in his Canton apartment on February 4, 2021, according to McNamara.

“MS. Birtimore was a vulnerable person, and since childhood, he has had a consistent and unwavering appreciation for police officers…people with an oath and duty to protect and serve.” McNamara said. “Admiration led her to form relationships with men who would try to take advantage of her.”

Until her death, Birtimore had spoken out about her relationship with Matthew Farwell. The day after Birtimore’s death, McNamara ordered her deputy chief, Brian Holmes, to lead an investigation to determine whether there had been any wrongdoing by members of her department.

“Subsequent investigation into her life and death revealed a very disturbing pattern of behavior towards her,” McNamara said.

According to McNamarra, the Farwell brothers and Devine violated a number of departmental policies, including being unfaithful and failing to be diligent and dedicate to their duties.

Robert Devine (left), William Farwell (right) -- Stoughton Police Department

Robert Devine (left), William Farwell (right) — Stoughton Police Department

Robert Devine (left), William Farwell (right) — Stoughton Police Department

Evidence uncovered during the investigation suggests that then-27-year-old Matthew Farwell met Birtimore while participating in the explorer program, and had a relationship with her over the years, including numerous digital messages and explicit exchanges. McNamara said it signaled the beginning of a relationship.

William Farwell was also accused of exchanging explicit messages and photographs with Birtimore while on duty.

According to McNamara, William Farwell attempted to introduce Mr. Birtimore to other men on multiple occasions, including former Deputy Chief Devine, who was demoted to patrol officer for abuse of power, and “another man.” Individuals who are police officers in their jurisdiction” were included.

According to McNamarra, Devine worked as an after-school program detailer several years ago and had inappropriate contact with another student. He then began overseeing the Explorers Program, teaching young participants aspects of policing.

The Farwell brothers were youngsters who attended programs under Divine before becoming instructors a few years later, McNamara said, attending courses to meet Birtimore.

Investigators ultimately determined that Matthew Farwell ended his relationship with Birtimore on February 1, 2021 after a “nasty, nasty argument.” She was found dead a few days later.

“All three brothers Farwell and Devine have violated their oaths of office and should not have the privilege of serving their communities as police officers,” McNamara said. “By their persistent and deliberate combination of lies, deception and betrayal, they violated Stoughton police policy.”

The Farwell brothers and Devine have since resigned, and the findings were shared with another town that employs a fourth individual involved in cheating with Birchmore.

McNamara added that she plans to ask the state’s new Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission to revoke the certification of the Farwell brothers and Devine. He said he was “furious.”

The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office was notified of the findings and the Explorer Program was dissolved.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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