Former country prosecutor traded info because of drug habit, AG’s office says
A former Middlesex assistant district attorney accused of violating conflict of interest laws by trading information for oxycodone pills has been indicted in connection with misuse of his position, Attorney General Martha Coakley said today.
Stephen Gilpatric, age 35, of Somerville, was indicted by a statewide grand jury on charges of unlawful gratuity, unlawfully communicating criminal offender record information and receiving unlawful compensation. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court at 9 a.m. Friday.
Update on Jan. 16, 2015: Gilpatric has pleaded guilty, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan. She made this statement: “While it may be true that addictions lead people to make bad decisions and that addictions occur in people in all walks of life, people who have the privilege of serving as assistant district attorneys hold positions of trust and have no excuse for releasing confidential information. Every assistant district attorney in this office is fully aware that in no situation, under no circumstances, and under no amount of personal stress, may he or she release confidential information to anyone not authorized to receive it.”
Gilpatric served as an assistant district attorney in the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office from November 2007 to October 2014, when the Attorney General’s Office began an investigation. The office cooperated fully with the investigation, Coakley said.
“Our employees hold important positions of public trust and we take immediate action when that trust may have been violated,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said today in a press release. “Upon being informed about the investigation by the Attorney General’s Office … we suspended Stephen Gilpatric without pay and took measures to secure his computer and office area.”
As of Nov. 11, Gilpatric was no longer employed, Ryan said, and his cases were given to other assistant district attorneys.
He most recently worked within the Public Protection, Anti-terrorism, Corruption and Technology Unit, where he handled prosecutions that included public corruption, white-collar crime and major narcotics cases.
Investigators say that in October 2011, Gilpatric got drugs in exchange for giving his supplier sensitive information about another man, including a Board of Probation record, a police report, a photograph and other personal identifying information. He is also accused of handing over confidential law enforcement information including a criminal record and an organizational chart of a drug ring to the same drug supplier and his brother, hoping to receive pills in exchange.
He also faces accusations of agreeing in August 2011 to help get a commercial driver’s license back for a woman’s son in exchange for $1,500. The license had been revoked after a guilty plea in a criminal case, Coakley said.
There is no evidence to suggest Gilpatric gave information related to criminal cases he was personally investigating or prosecuting, Coakley said. His cases included the prosecution of extortion charges against Howie Winter, the elderly former head of the notorious Winter Hill Gang. Last year he took on cases against a Malden man and Stoneham men separately charged with selling hundreds of grams of cocaine and heroin.
Gilpatric was spending hundreds of dollars a week to feed his addiction to Oxycontin, according to Coakley’s office.
“Clearly, the activities that Gilpatric is alleged to have engaged in would be a violation of confidentiality laws. That being said, the unfortunate situation is that substance abuse affects people in all walks of life and sadly, as we have seen in many cases, illegal drug use often leads people to make bad decisions,” Ryan said, assuring that “here is no evidence that any cases previously handled by Gilpatric were compromised or that he was involved in the distribution of narcotics.”