Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden Pays $5,000 Civil Penalty

Special to the Sun 

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden has paid a $5,000 civil penalty for violating the conflict of interest law by failing to stop his staff from issuing and by failing to withdraw a DA’s Office press statement aimed at discrediting his opponent in the 2022 Democratic primary election. Hayden signed a Disposition Agreement in which he admitted the violation and waived his right to a hearing.

After an August 23, 2022 newspaper article described allegations that Hayden’s opponent in the September 6, 2022 Democratic primary, Ricardo Arroyo, had been investigated by the Boston Police Department for alleged sexual assaults when he was a teenager, the allegations became a focal point of the primary race. Arroyo sued the City of Boston for Boston Police Department investigation files he claimed would show the allegations were unfounded.

On September 2, 2022, four days before the primary election and 90 minutes before a court-ordered deadline for the City of Boston to provide investigation files to Arroyo, the Suffolk DA’s Office issued an official statement to the press announcing that the office had “reviewed the entire unredacted file regarding the sexual assault allegations,” that “nothing in the file suggests the allegations were unfounded,” and that “the campaign to sabotage the victim’s credibility is shameful.” The Suffolk DA’s Office statement was widely published by multiple news media outlets, many using it as a response to Arroyo’s claims. An article published in one outlet reported that “Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin R. Hayden released a statement saying prosecutors never deemed the case ‘unfounded.’”

Hayden was aware that his DA’s Office staff intended to issue a statement directly contrary to Arroyo’s public claims that the allegations against him were unfounded and challenging his credibility. Hayden took no action to prevent his staff from doing so and did not withdraw the statement after it was released. By these failures to act, Hayden knowingly or with reason to know used his official position as Suffolk District Attorney to secure for himself the unwarranted privilege of using valuable public resources for his own personal political advantage and violated the conflict of interest law.

“The authority and prestige of a District Attorney’s office and the worktime of its staff are valuable public resources to be used for the public good,” said Executive Director David A. Wilson. “Their use to discredit a political opponent in order to gain advantage in an election or for any other private purpose is prohibited by the conflict of interest law.”

The Commission encourages public employees to contact the Commission’s Legal Division at 617-371-9500 for free advice if they have any questions regarding how the conflict of interest law may apply to them.

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