QUINCY, Mass. — When Quincy Police Detective Andrew Keenan was sworn in as a police officer in 2014, his father, then Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan, stood behind him.
Keenan continued to support his son three years later when – according to police documents – Andrew told police he was “remorseful about his actions” amid a 2017 investigation into allegations that he sent a sexually explicit image to a woman living with mental disabilities and solicited a sexually explicit video in return.
Andrew Keenan was not charged with a crime following a Hanover police investigation.
25 Investigates spoke with former Chief Paul Keenan, and asked if he gave his son any special treatment.
“No, no, I did not, actually,” Paul Keenan said. “He was held to a little higher standard.”
“There were no criminal charges filed,” he continued. “I received the information and he immediately went into an employee assistance program, completed it successfully, and he’s doing very well.”
An employee assistance program provides short-term counseling and services for employees with issues impacting their wellbeing.
Paul Keenan confirmed the incident was left out of his son’s personnel file.
New Quincy Police chief Mark Kennedy said his office put Andrew Keenan on paid leave in July as they investigate how the department handled the incident and whether its code of conduct was violated.
“We’re a brand-new administration,” Kennedy told Investigative Reporter Ted Daniel. “We’re looking into it.”
When asked why his son was on leave if everything was handled correctly, Paul Keenan said: “There’s a new chief. The matter was brought to his attention, and I think he wanted to vet it.”
25 Investigates unsuccessfully tried to reach out to Andrew Keenan in-person.
Through a records request, 25 Investigates obtained a copy of police records that detail how law enforcement handled the 2017 incident.
In September 2017, Hanover police got an intake investigation report from the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission that said then 31-year-old Andrew Keenan engaged in “inappropriate conversations that included sharing of photos and videos” with a woman who lived in a “disabled housing complex” at Cardinal Cushing Centers – a special education school in Hanover, where he once worked.
A search warrant seeking Facebook data filed by Hanover police cites the state DPPC report. The search warrant said police believed they had probable cause that Keenan “committed the crimes of Dissemination of Obscene Material and Accosting and Annoying.”
Police say according to the report, Keenan sent a sexually explicit photo to the woman and asked her to send him a sexually explicit video in return. The two spoke through Facebook messenger and by text message.
The woman, a resident at Cardinal Cushing, needed “regular assistance with decision making,” reads the search warrant. “She has a past history of reduced insight and judgment in terms of social interactions.”
The woman told police she was “flattered” that Officer Keenan was paying attention to her. She said she shouldn’t have sent him a video when he asked.
Police said according to the state DPPC report, Keenan would have known the woman due to his former job as a lifeguard and teaching assistant at the school.
“... Keenan due to his former employment at the school would know... And be aware of her limitations and vulnerabilities,” reads the search warrant.
The report describes a similar complaint against Keenan in 2012 that was “not substantiated,” according to police.
The search warrant says: “The report also indicates that in 2012, Keenan was the subject of an investigation that involved him ‘sexting’ with a Cardinal Cushing School student with disabilities.”
A Hanover police detective log says that the student “suffers from similar disabilities.”
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities, which investigated the 2012 incident on behalf of DPPC, said the office cannot comment on specific investigations due to state and federal privacy laws.
The DPPC deputy general counsel denied 25 Investigates’ records request for copies of investigative reports and said it “cannot respond to public records requests related to a specifically named individual.”
“TWO CONSENTING ADULTS”
Leo Sarkissian, executive director of advocacy group The Arc Massachusetts, said law enforcement should be held to a high standard when it comes to their conduct with vulnerable individuals.
“Nothing gets me more angry than people who are in positions of authority or responsibility to take advantage or manipulate or even exploit persons who are vulnerable,” Sarkissian said.
A spokesperson for the Plymouth DA’s office says the 2017 case “involved two consenting adults” and the “conduct did not support criminal charges.”
Hanover police said they got some files from Facebook -- but officers found that images and conversations between the woman and Andrew were not recovered.
The DA’s office also confirmed: “Quincy police department was notified… for any potential violations of their rules or policies.”
Quincy Police’s 2019 Code of Conduct policy sets guidelines for officer conduct while on or off-duty. The manual says its list – which includes “disgraceful conduct” – isn’t exhaustive.
“Failure to meet the guidelines set forth in this policy, whether on- or off-duty, may be cause for disciplinary action,” reads the policy manual.
25 Investigates requested a copy of the code of conduct as it stood on 2017.
Kennedy said he first learned of Andrew Keenan’s past in July shortly after Paul Keenan retired.
Daniel asked Chief Kennedy what the department did in 2017 when it was made aware that one of its officers was under criminal investigation.
“I can’t speak to that,” Kennedy said. “What I can tell you is we’re looking into the matter… That’s why we took the step of putting the officer on leave, conducting our own review.”
Quincy Lt. Bill Ward said he’s confident that Hanover police did a thorough investigation and that no crime was committed.
It’s unclear whether Officer Keenan was working on Aug. 17, 2017 – the day he solicited and received sexually explicit images from the woman living on Cardinal Cushing school grounds.
The hiring process for police officers is extensive: investigators delve into everything from driving records to employment history, and can also conduct interviews about a candidate’s character with family members and former supervisors.
ALLEGATIONS OF BYPASSING COP CANDIDATES
Keenan is also the nephew of Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch.
Keenan wasn’t the only officer with connections when he joined the police force in 2014 – that same year, Quincy PD hired a son of a police captain and the daughter of a city councilor.
25 Investigates found that year Quincy Police got hit with allegations of bypassing some candidates in favor of others. Andrew Keenan wasn’t specifically mentioned.
In one case, the state Civil Service Commission found the city failed to provide it was justified to bypass a candidate.
The commission said Quincy wrongly relied upon “speculation” during a psychological evaluation.
The city had to put the candidate at the top of their list for future officers.
In another case, the commission required another candidate who said he was inappropriately bypassed to also get placed atop the list.
And in a third case, the commission ruled in the city’s favor. The commission said the city was justified to bypass an applicant based on his application answers.
In that case, a Quincy police captain and the city’s director of human resources testified that Mayor Koch “decided which candidates to offer employment to.”
Mayor Koch did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent through the city website 25 on whether he recused himself from the decision to hire his nephew in 2014.
And in a case last year, the state Civil Service Commission found: “The City of Quincy failed to take the necessary steps to ensure a fair and impartial review process where the Mayor’s son was one of the candidates under consideration for appointment as a police officer.”
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