DECEMBER 2000 PRINT EDITION
McLarnon can prove that the tape recordings of his court hearings
have been tampered with.
embattled father is a forensic audio/visual consultant. He owns equipment
and software capable of digitally inspecting audio signals. He demonstrated
for Massachusetts News how he can detect the tape edits by magnifying
the waves up to a thousand times until it is obvious to a layman what
an edit looks like.
became suspicious after he discovered key material was missing from
tapes he had ordered for the purpose of having them transcribed.
attorney, Gregory Hession, has compiled a comprehensive report that
analyzes three tapes that he says were edited. Two of the tapes were
edited over ten times each.
tape machines are used by courts across the state to replace the stenographers
who used to record court proceedings.
Hession distributed the report to several offices including the Middlesex
Probate Court, the Probate Court Register's office, the Middlesex
District Attorney, the Attorney General, the Massachusetts Inspector
General, the Judicial Conduct Commission, the state Supreme Judicial
Court and the FBI.
also wrote letters and personally met with officials of the above
offices to discuss the tampering with court dockets and files in addition
to the tapes. But he has witnessed little or no interest in the matter.
News met with the outgoing Middlesex Register of Probate, Lee Johnson,
and called Jane Fitzpatrick of the DA's office, Eric Knight of the
Massachusetts Inspector General's Office and Kathy Morrissey of the
Attorney General's Office to ask if they had investigated the matter.
Attorney General's office was also unresponsive. MassNews called Kathy Morrisey
specifically because the father says he spoke with her over a period of two
weeks in May 1996 after his son contacted him. He complained to her about things
he said he knew were illegal concerning a suppressed evaluation, edited tapes
and a report that was disallowed but still placed in his file to poison his
he realized they weren't acting on his complaints, he says he grew suspicious
and asked Morrisey if she knew Douglas personally. She said yes, that he is a
friend of the Attorney General's office and they wouldn't be prosecuting him.
"Tom Reilly knows all about you, Mr. McLarnon, you're the one who's going
to be prosecuted," she allegedly told him.
asked Morrissey whether she said those things and if she knew Douglas. Morrissey
would only answer, "I can neither confirm nor deny that." After a few
hours, Morrissey called back to say the matter had been referred to the DA's
office at the time and to check with them. When pressed about whether she knew
Douglas, she said she did not.
father says he has a taped conversation of a former attorney of his, Sonya
Pence, acknowledging that Pence told him in June 1996 that then District
Attorney Tom Reilly was his enemy and wanted to throw him in jail.
the time that Pence was his attorney, she worked as an assistant to Gil
Sakakeeny in Juvenile Probation at Middlesex District Court, but she didn't tell
the father his son was prosecuted and put on probation.
father says that for over two years Pence failed to call witnesses,
cross-examine his ex-wife, strike affidavits, etc. He eventually sued Pence for
malpractice and won the case this year.
Is No Help
asked Johnson if he remembered Hession and their discussion. Johnson at first
said he didn't remember because he sees a lot of people. When asked if he gets
complaints about edited tapes and manipulated files and dockets every day, he
said he vaguely recalled meeting Atty. Hession. He said he doesn't recall what
he did about it and doesn't know off the top of his head if anyone else
contacted him about the matter.
asked why this is relevant now and was told the matter is going before the
Supreme Court in December. When MassNews asked Johnson for permission to have an
interview with his tape coordinator, George Briggs, he answered, "The
complaint involves edited tapes? No, you cannot speak to George Briggs."
while this reporter sat in Johnson's office facing his desk, Clerk Arthur Havey
came quietly into the office unnoticed from behind and listened. An associate of
this reporter noticed Havey slip into the office.
is a constant in the father's story because he was the clerk in at least three
of the hearings whose tapes were later edited. According to the father, Havey
even tried to intervene in a judge's decision to strike a discredited evaluation
of the father. The clerk argued to the judge that if that were done, there would
be nothing on which to base the restraining order. The judge struck it anyway
and ordered a new evaluation that was never completed.
would not give his job title to MassNews but he appears to be the head
clerk and has the run of the courthouse and judges' offices. The father
believes Havey would know if files and dockets were manipulated. Havey
denied knowing David Douglas and acknowledged he sometimes speaks in