Trooper Transferred After Sexual Harassment Claims

BOSTON – It sounds like a familiar story in Massachusetts – a person of authority repeatedly gets into trouble. But rather than being fired, he’s transferred somewhere else to possibly become a problem to somebody else.

But in this case, we’re not talking about the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, we’re talking about the state police. The Boston Globe reports that a trooper accused of sexual harassment at least three times in the past decade is being moved to another barracks, not fired.

Trooper James Michael Vines was suspended for 30 days last month after a female restaurant worker at Logan Airport, where Vines was assigned, claims the trooper made lewd comments to her then stalked her for hours when she rebuffed his advances.

Another woman, a female toll collector, claims Vine walked into her booth and asked for a kiss.

Both those women work at the airport. They hoped to never see Vines again, but the trooper was scheduled to return to duty at Logan after his suspension. That apparently changed when the Globe started making inquiries and officials changed their minds.

The paper reports that Vines did admit to violating department rules and was disciplined, and is now being shipped out to another barracks.

One former victim told the paper, “It’s like the archdiocese, they keep moving him around.”

Massachusetts State Police spokesperson David Procopio released this statement to WBZ late Thursday afternoon: “The Massachusetts State Police sustained a complaint filed against Trooper James Vines and handed down appropriate discipline. We took further action by transferring him from Logan Airport and issuing orders mandating that he stay away from the complainant, as well as from a complainant from a previous incident. The State Police acted thusly because of our commitment to the integrity of the department and our responsibilities to the complainants.”