Human rights complaint against New Boston

Female police officer filed against department

Courtesy photo New Boston Police Department

NEW BOSTON – As the town is dealing with an ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit against the police department, the Telegraph learned another female police officer filed a human rights filed a complaint against the department.

Jennifer Watson, a nine-year Air Force veteran who did three tours of duty in Iraq, worked as an officer in New Boston between 2012 and 2015. She left her job in 2015 amid some controversy that resulted in the complaint filed with the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission.

Watson’s attorney, Ben Wyatt, declined to speak about the matter, but acknowledged an agreement between Watson and the town had been reached. The New Hampshire Human Right’s Commission declined to provide a copy of Watson’s complaint. Town Administrator Peter Flynn also declined to speak about the matter.

The details about Watson’s complaint are scarce. According to records that the Telegraph was able to review, Watson alleges the department filed false statements in her disciplinary record leading up to her dismissal. Her departure from the town was later negotiated to be an “ordinary resignation.”

The timing of Watson’s complaint is around the same time that another officer, Alexandra Drake, 24, of Nashua, was herself experiencing harassment at the department, according to court records. Drake filed a lawsuit in federal court last year based on her account of sexual harassment by a senior male officer who allegedly would rate women he pulled over on a “capability scale.”

Drake is seeking unspecified damages resulting from the behavior of Lt. Michael Masella and others in regards to the harassment, retaliation against her for reporting it and “false allegations” following a long series of incidents.

Masella, of Londonderry, is a former Nashua Police Department patrol sergeant.

Drake alleges that Masella conducted himself inappropriately both on the job and off-duty over the course of about two years, beginning when he was training her as a new officer in 2013. Specifically, according to court documents, “Masella conducted traffic stops involving female drivers while field training Drake. After completing the stop, he told Drake that he wanted to just take them out and ‘rape’ them rather than issue a citation.”

Drake’s attorney, Tony Soltani, is familiar with Watson’s case, but he did not know the exact details.

“”They treated her poorly,” Soltani said.

Drake went to New Boston Police Chief James Brace about the allegations in April 2015, and Brace, directed her to follow the chain of command with any complaints, which meant she had to first address the issue with her superior, Masella, according to the suit.

Brace was unavailable for comment.