Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamarra called a lengthy internal investigation into “serious misconduct” by three former police officers “deeply concerning as a human being and as a police chief.”
The three former officers are accused of having an inappropriate relationship with Sandra Birchmore, who later became pregnant and committed suicide in February 2021. The three officers met Birchmore while counseling her as a teenager, through the department’s Young Explorers Program. . One of the sexual relationships allegedly began when the woman was 15 years old.
The three officers accused of having inappropriate relationships with the 23-year-old are Matthew Farwell, William Farwell and Robert Devine, according to new details announced by the department chief.
During Friday’s news conference to announce the report’s findings, Stoughton McNamarra’s boss seemed visibly concerned about the investigation, which she said she ordered and involved outside investigators.
“She was defrauded, manipulated and used by people in authority whom she admired and trusted until her last days,” Chief McNamarra said. “Birchmore was a vulnerable person. A constant in her life since childhood: her unwavering admiration for police officers, military men, people in uniform, people with oaths and duties to protect and serve. The admiration led her to enter into relationships with men . that they were willing to take advantage of her.”
The investigation found that Matthew and William Farwell, who are twin brothers, and Devine, who was in charge of the youth mentoring program, violated the rules and regulations of the Stoughton Police Department. All three men, plus a fourth person who now works for another police department, are accused of having inappropriate relationships with Birchmore, according to McNamarra.
The 23-year-old had reportedly been telling friends she was pregnant with Matthew Farwell’s baby, before committing suicide last February. Police found the girl’s body in her apartment after she failed to show up for work at Sharon Public Schools, according to the Globe report.
Detective Farwell allegedly met the young woman when she was 13 years old, through the department’s “young scout program,” which is a mentoring program that introduces young people to police careers. Officers reportedly texted him while on duty to set up meetings.
All three officers have now left the department and deny the allegations, according to the Globe.
The Stoughton police chief is reportedly asking the state’s new Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission to decertify them, which would prevent them from working in those roles again.
Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamarra is expected to address this matter with a press conference on Friday at 10 am and release the internal affairs report.