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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sides apart on Quigley domestic case probe in Brookline

BROOKLINE – Nicole Shank, the former girlfriend of Jonathan Quigley, has formally complained to the Board of Selectmen three times, accusing officials of sidestepping her questions related to the Police Department’s response to an alleged incident of domestic violence in May.

For their part, selectmen say they’ve done what they could by referring her complaints to outside agencies for investigation and the matter is out of their hands.

At a recent meeting, board Chairman Tad Putney said he had spoken with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and was told that the state police investigation into the alleged domestic violence incident could be coming to a close soon.

Selectman Jack Flanagan, who is also a state representative, declined to discuss Shank’s letter, citing 91-A, the state law that allows public officials to meet privately to discuss issues that could damage a person’s reputation.

But Selectman Darrell Philpot countered, “She feels wronged by the system and that we’re not adequately and reasonably addressing these needs. But we’ve done all that we can do, short of us being the experts.”

And Selectman Karl Dowling offered, “At this point, it’s been this long and she’s looking for some sort of resolution. Maybe a letter to that effect, saying, ‘We understand your concerns, but it’s beyond our scope, and it’s being investigated.’”

In a previous letter, Shank said the video surveillance she requested and paid for, was incomplete, and that the police chief and board could have been meeting during the missing hour, without the public’s knowledge.

Shank also has questioned why the Police Department did not preserve video from May 19, the day she and Jonathan Quigley were involved in a dispute at the Brookline home they shared with her two children.

Shank’s complaint about missing footage on the tapes apparently led the board to reconsider the town’s policy on sharing surveillance video with the public. Last Monday, Putney referred to a letter to the board from Police Chief William Quigley III, providing information requested by the board about surveillance policies in other communities.

The chief said he contacted nine area police departments, which he did not name, and asked what department areas they monitor and what they share with the public.

“All agencies limit the release of booking and cell block areas to requests in the form of a Motion for Discovery by a defendant or his/her attorney,” the police chief wrote.

The chief said anyone who makes a request is told there will be a charge for the DVD and possibly additional charges, at an hourly rate, to cover an employee’s time to fulfill the request. Anyone making a request must “narrow the timeframe or provide reference to a particular case or incident,” he wrote.

The chief further explained that “All nine agency contacts shared the opinion a huge liability would be realized if footage was released, containing and or/potentially identifying: victims of sexual abuse; victims of domestic violence; juveniles; confidential informants; other information or individuals outside the parameters of RSA 91-A.”

Hattie Bernstein can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 24, or hbernstein@cabinet.com.