Former Gloucester firefighters union president Clinton Carroll has filed for the release of witness accounts and investigation records that his defense believes will exonerate him of charges of indecent child assault.
The 14-year-old alleged victim in the case has reportedly recanted her testimony to police, according to Carroll and as outlined in an e-mail obtained last month by the Times.
A month ago, Carroll said he intended to file a motion to dismiss the case based on the e-mail and other statements he believes have been made to police that prove his relationship with the girl never became romantic or criminal.
In his first court appearance as Carroll's lawyer, Thomas Brant of Boston said yesterday that the defense has not filed a motion to dismiss "yet," but he "expects to use every avenue available" to clear Carroll.
"Our client has professed his innocence and we are proceeding accordingly," Brant said. "We are expecting that the information (from the discovery motions) will be favorable."
Brant and David McCauley of Melrose have taken over as Carroll's legal team after Carroll parted ways with Gloucester attorney Harold Rush Lloyd last month because the ex-firefighter believed his defense was not being pursued aggressively enough.
Carroll has called the case against him a politically motivated "set-up," but has declined to this point to suggest who may be behind it.
Yesterday, Carroll's pre-trial hearing was continued until Oct. 26, at which point the information requested in the discovery motions will be due, Brant said.
The prosecution did not offer any comments at the hearing yesterday.
Carroll was arrested at the end of July after a nearly two-month investigation by Gloucester police detectives into what they have described as a romantic relationship between Carroll and an O'Maley Middle School student, beginning when she was 13 years old.
The charges against Carroll — indecent child assault and battery and endangerment of a child under 14 — were based on statements of the victim's friends and family, phone records as well as shifting accounts of the victim herself.
The police report says the relationship between Carroll and the girl included secret trysts and became physical, but stopped short of sex.
In the alleged recanting e-mail to police, dated Aug. 12, the victim, whose identity has been withheld by police and by the Times, says she was "scared" and police "kept asking me questions so I told them what they wanted to hear so I could go home." The copy of the e-mail obtained by the Times was sent to interim police Chief Michael Lane and Lt. Joseph Aiello; it appears to have been printed from Lane's computer.
Carroll, who is married, has admitted having a friendship with the girl that involved "tons" of late-night phone calls while on duty at the Gloucester fire headquarters. But he says the relationship never crossed the line into any type of romantic or illegal behavior.
"In hindsight," Carroll acknowledged a month ago, the friendship with the girl may not have been a good idea.
Carroll presided over the Gloucester firefighters' union during a period of acrimonious relations with the city over collective bargaining that repeatedly landed in court.
A current lawsuit brought by the union challenges the current city budget.
Immediately after Carroll's arrest, Mayor Carolyn Kirk announced her intention to fire Carroll, and did so after going through a hearing process two weeks later.
Carroll has also appealed that decision to the state Civil Service Commission.
The Civil Service appeal has been awaiting the results of the criminal proceedings and a hearing scheduled yesterday was expected to be continued along with the court case.
The Gloucester firefighters' union has also filed a labor grievance based on the Carroll firing.
Patrick Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org