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Payouts in Police Probe

August 5, 2018

BILLERICA -- The town has paid two Police Department employees more than $70,000 in wages and severance pay since they were placed on paid administrative in early April, according to payroll documents.

Four months ago, Detective Daniel O’Leary and former dispatcher Kate Murphy were placed on paid administrative leave after an alleged affair between the two led to disruptions at work, sources told the Sun.

Murphy voluntarily resigned on June 30 after collecting $13,791.37 in wages while on administrative leave, according to the documents. She also received $30,000 in severance pay, bringing the total payment to $43,791.37.

Since April, O’Leary has received $28,688 in wages. He remains on paid administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing, according to Deputy Police Chief Roy Frost.

Frost directed questions regarding the severance payment to the town. Town Manager John Curran declined to say whether the severance pay was part of a settlement or union agreement.

“I’m not going to go into why that was paid out,” he said.

Curran said this type of investigation can often take months,

“The one for the Fire Department took nine or ten or 11 months,” he said. “This one has been going on for four months.”

Last year, three firefighters and a dispatcher were suspended after an on-duty sex scandal in both the central and Pinehurst fire stations.

Unlike the Fire Department, the two police employees are not accused of having sex while on duty, sources told The Sun this spring. The issue is not systemic, but an isolated personnel issue, the sources said.

Curran said personnel issues of this kind are costly and a pull on his and other employees’ time.

“They are so draining on the resources of the town and not just the money part,” he said.

Curran said he is unsure when the investigation will conclude. He declined to say who was conducting the investigation.

According to sources, the alleged affair between O’Leary and Murphy caused “outbursts” in the department and the two were asked to end their relationship months before being placed on leave.

O’Leary was previously placed on administrative leave in 2007, when he became entangled in a romance gone bad between lieutenant and sergeant.

In a separate incident, Murphy filed a “hostile work environment” complaint against her supervisor following a dispute over a sick day. After an investigation, officials ruled the complaint unfounded.

Murphy served on the School Committee from 2014 to 2017.

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