Investigation: Selectwoman pressured town administrator into 'sexual activities'

ROCKLAND, Mass. — Rockland Board of Selectmen Vice-Chairwoman Deirdre Hall has resigned after an independent investigation found she pressured Town Administrator Allan Chiocca into an after-hours encounter at Town Hall.

During Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, town leaders publicly acknowledged, for the first time, the two engaged in sexual activity on the evening of May 1st.

Boston 25 News was first to report on the inappropriate behavior in May.

“The conduct uncovered by this investigation is very, very disturbing to me,” said Selectmen Michael Mullen.

The results of the six-week long investigation were read by Regina Ryan of Discrimination and Harassment Solutions, LLC. The Town of Rockland hired Ryan to investigate the claims made by Hall and Chiocca. Ryan read the results at the meeting, which was held at Rockland High School’s auditorium due to the attendance.

“Mrs. Hall used her position as a member of the Board of Selectmen, who was actively reviewing and would soon be voting on his request for contract extension and salary increase, to pressure him into engaging in sexual activities with her,” said Ryan.

Hall, a married mother, had initially claimed she was too intoxicated to have consensual sex with Chiocca, but the investigation found otherwise.

“Regina Ryan’s account showed that Mrs. Hall was really the aggressor and Mr. Chiocca was not,” said Larry Ryan, who is now Chairman of Rockland’s Board of Selectmen.

Hall was not at the meeting, but her attorney was present.

“We’ve been informed by counsel for Mrs. Hall that she is actually resigning immediately from the Board of Selectmen,” Rockland Town Counsel John Clifford said.

Chiocca remains on paid administrative leave. He has been town administrator since 2008. In his absence, Rockland Police Chief John Llewellyn has been serving as acting town administrator. The board will meet next Tuesday, July 17, to discuss Chiocca’s future with the town.

“While Mr. Chiocca was found to not have violated the town’s discriminatory harassment policy, other serious misconduct was identified in the investigation,” said Clifford.

The Board also voted to comply with outstanding public records requests and release surveillance video from the night in question. Boston 25 News is among those requesting a copy of the video. Clifford said the video would be released on Wednesday.

In addition, the Board voted to release an affidavit of Steven Verronneau, an independent consultant hired to analyze the surveillance video. Discrimination and Harassment Solutions, LLC. hired Verronneau to review the surveillance video after Hall made claims the footage may have been altered or tampered with.

Last month, Hall’s attorney filed an emergency motion in Brockton Superior Court seeking to block the release of the surveillance video. Her attorney, Brian Hughes, said releasing the footage at the time would cause “irreparable harm and injury to [Hall] and her family through continued embarrassment, humiliation, depression, fear, intimidation, and harassment from the public.” They dropped the motion two days later.

The motion included an affidavit from Board of Selectmen Chairman Edward Kimball, who accused Chiocca of telling town employees and public officials that Hall “was a sexual predator who aggressed upon him and forced him to allow her to perform (a sexual act) on him.”

Kimball’s involvement was also investigated by Discrimination and Harassment Solutions, LLC. The Board declined to formally discuss the findings related to Kimball. The Board did vote to reorganize and removed Kimball from his position as chairman. Larry Ryan will now serve as chairman and Michael O’Loughlin will serve as vice-chairman.

“If you want to recall these people or remove him from office so we can move on with the business of this town, then please do that,” Ryan said. “We can’t vote to do anything with Mr. Kimball.”

Adam Shafran, Chiocca’s attorney, released a statement after the meeting, urging the board to release the full investigation report. Shafran said the investigation revealed Hall tried to present herself as a victim from the start and that she was having an “intense physical and emotional affair” with Kimball.

“Mr. Chiocca is disheartened that the Rockland Board of Selectmen has voted not to allow a further disclosure of the investigator’s findings, which lay out the disturbing conspiracy of lies concocted by Hall and Kimball to smear the reputation of Mr. Chiocca for their own personal and political benefit,” the statement read. “Mr. Chiocca urges the Board of Selectman to release the full 29 page investigative report so that the residents of Rockland are given all the facts regarding this case. Only then will the public understand the full scope of Hall’s and Kimball’s egregious conduct.”