Second New Boston officer got $75K

Town paid $235K to settle lawsuits

NEW BOSTON – The town paid $235,000 to settle two complaints stemming from the alleged actions of members of the police department, according to records obtained by the Telegraph.

The Telegraph reported this week that the town paid $160,000 to settle the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former police officer Alexandra Drake. On Wednesday, the Telegraph obtained the settlement agreement for former police

officer Jennifer Watson, who was paid $75,000 to settle her complaint filed with the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission.

Both Watson and Drake, as well as town officials, are prohibited from talking about the cases

now that they have been settled.

Drake accused her immediate supervisor, Lt. Michael Masella, of sexually harassing her, and two other New Boston police officers, Watson and another woman. Watson’s settlement indicates she was pursuing sex discrimination and age discrimination cases. Watson, a military veteran before becoming a police officer, is over the age of 40. Rod Towne, chairman of New Boston’s select board, has said he is unaware of any other settlements

involving the police department.

According to Drake’s lawsuit, Masella allegedly talked to Drake about raping the women he pulled over as part of his police duties, and that he had a “rapability” scale for the women he encountered on the job. He allegedly began showing up at Drake’s home when she was off-duty.

When Drake complained to Chief James Brace, Brace told her to go through the chain of command and make any complaint to her immediate supervisor, Masella. When Drake did file a formal complaint, she claims that Brace punished her, and kept her from getting a job with the Manchester police department.

Brace and Masella are reportedly close friends, even vacationing together with family.

Masella stopped working for the Nashua police department in 2008, according to Nashua’s Corporate Counsel Steve Bolton. Bolton stated that Masella was not involved in any legal settlements, and have no discipline issues on file. The Telegraph has so far been unable to inspect the city records of legal settlements, which are supposed to be filed with the City Clerk’s office for a minimum of 10 years.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF.