'Just leave it': Charlestown sergeant advised of trooper's illicit encounter

·3 min read
State police Sgt. John Gadrow in May. He was suspended and later opted to retire after a Charlestown police officer reported seeing him having sex with a woman in his cruiser while on duty last February.
State police Sgt. John Gadrow in May. He was suspended and later opted to retire after a Charlestown police officer reported seeing him having sex with a woman in his cruiser while on duty last February.

CHARLESTOWN — Text messages reveal that a Charlestown police sergeant advised an officer it was “probably best to leave it” last February after he spotted a state trooper engaged in sex behind the state garage off South County Trail.

A text message chain released by the Town of Charlestown in response to an Access to Public Records request from the Boston Globe details Patrolman William Scott Campbell’s encounter around 8 p.m. Feb. 27 outside the state garage salt barn.

“There’s a trooper having sex behind the state garage right now,” Campbell wrote to his superior Sgt. David Westervelt.

“Wtf,” Westervelt responded. “In cruiser?”

“Yea one of the unmarked navy ones,” Campbell said, noting that a Range Rover was parked nearby.

“I don’t know if you want me to leave that alone or what,” Campbell said, messaging that he had observed bare skin.

“Yeah, probably best to leave it,” Westervelt wrote.

A series of texts between a Charlestown police officer and his sergeant after the officer spotted a state trooper having sex in his cruiser last February.
A series of texts between a Charlestown police officer and his sergeant after the officer spotted a state trooper having sex in his cruiser last February.
A series of texts between a Charlestown police officer and his sergeant after the officer spotted a state trooper having sex in his cruiser last February.
A series of texts between a Charlestown police officer and his sergeant after the officer spotted a state trooper having sex in his cruiser last February.

Campbell identified the license plate number, to which Westervelt responded it belonged to Gadrow — then Rhode Island State Police Sgt. John Gadrow.

The illicit rendezvous remained largely under wraps until last fall, when State Police Col. James Manni confirmed that an internal affairs investigation was underway into an allegation that a male trooper had sex with a woman in his cruiser while on duty in Charlestown. News of the investigation was first reported by WPRI.

Gadrow, who in May was promoted to lieutenant, was suspended with pay about a month into the investigation following his interview with investigators, Manni said Saturday.

“Prior to Oct. 15, neither I nor anyone on the Rhode Island State Police knew about it,” Manni said.

Manni said he recommended that Gadrow — who has 22 years with the agency — be fired, triggering a Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights hearing, but that Gadrow instead opted to retire as of Jan. 16.

Manni declined further comment due to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.

Documents show that the incident began percolating in Charlestown in October, and that Charlestown Police Chief Michael Paliotta notified state police shortly thereafter.

Campbell reported to his supervisors that he had seen an unmarked state police cruiser behind the state garage Feb. 27 and that the parties appeared to be having sex in the driver’s seat. He relayed that Westervelt advised that it was “probably best to just leave it.”

He told the chief Oct. 14 that he had illuminated the front of the cruiser and saw a woman partially unclothed facing the rear of the vehicle, but that he could not see the driver.

He said that he parked in front of the bay doors near the doorway after being advised it was Gadrow and to leave it alone. He watched as both vehicles pulled onto Route 1 north shortly after, the cruiser with its overhead lights flashing.

Paliotta in a statement released Saturday said he had not learned of the incident until October, and his department had cooperated fully with the Rhode Island State Police during the course of their internal investigation into the matter.

"The Charlestown Police Department subsequently conducted a review into how the matter was handled internally. The department concluded that errors were made and proper procedure was not followed. Based on the internal review, this agency has taken the necessary corrective actions to remedy this situation and to further train our personnel," Paliotta said.

Gadrow was a member of the state police Traffic Safety Unit — branded the “wolfpack” — established by Manni in 2019 to combat a surge in driving fatalities.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: 'Leave it': Charlestown sergeant advised of trooper's illicit encounter

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting