Legislator Says He's Ashamed After Mysterious Cross-Country Trek
Nov. 18, 1991
MELROSE, Mass. (AP) _ After disappearing from home and wandering the country for 13 days, a state legislator said Monday he was ashamed of himself but relieved to be home.
''Over the past several months, I have made some serious mistakes,'' state Rep. Timothy O'Leary told reporters gathered at his home. ''While I can acknowledge my errors in judgment, I am not yet able to fully explain them.''
O'Leary, who fled his home threatening to commit suicide and admitting to some fiscal wrongdoing, is now on medication and has retained a former prosecutor to assist him with possible criminal charges.
The 46-year-old Democratic legislator refused to take questions and gave no indication whether he will resign or seek another term.
''Like many of you I wonder what the future holds for me,'' he said. ''I wish I knew.''
Jerry Benezra, a friend who shares law offices with O'Leary, said neither the police nor prosecutors have contacted O'Leary since he was brought home in a donated private plane.
''They exercised restraint,'' Benezra said, adding he expects to hear from investigators shortly.
Before O'Leary fled on Halloween, Middlesex District Attorney Thomas Reilly seized records from Statehouse and private offices. Reilly said he was investigating O'Leary's handling of several law cases and the possible misuse of campaign funds.
''I left home not because of my family, but because I was ashamed of my actions,'' O'Leary said. ''I came home because of my family.''
O'Leary's family and friends converted the family dining room into a ''war room,'' equipped with extra phone lines, a computer and maps marked with colored push pins to chart his credit card use.
With the help of radio disc jockeys, one governor and even roller skaters in California, the family kept tabs on his strange 7,500-mile trip from Maine to California and back east.
Police found him in Martinsburg, W.Va., last Wednesday, tired and broke.
''Eighteen days ago I left to end my life,'' O'Leary said Monday. ''About five days ago I returned. How close I came to a final act continues to haunt me, but with the love and support of my family and friends I hope to face the future and to never disappoint my family and friends again.''