DRACUT — Several Dracut selectmen are calling for a thorough investigation of allegations that two Dracut officers took drugs and solicited prostitution in the home of a confidential informant.
The accusations, which have not yet been corroborated by evidence, come from a lawsuit brought against the town and several law-enforcement officials from other agencies by Dracut Officer Joseph Jakuttis. In the suit, Jakuttis claims he was retaliated against after reporting to his superiors that two confidential informants had implicated Dracut officers in criminal acts.
The lawsuit also claims that neither the Dracut police Department nor outside agencies investigated whether Dracut officers committed the crimes they were accused of.
“I am in the process of doing my own due diligence and have asked the town manager for all internal investigations relative to this matter,” Selectman Tony Archinski told The Sun. “I am sure that we (selectmen) will be briefed by the counsel at some point in the future and I assure the citizens of Dracut that this matter will be investigated fully.”
On Thursday, summonses filed in Middlesex Superior Court named two of the defendants in the suit, who had previously been referred to using the pseudonyms John Doe 1 and John Doe 2. John Doe 1 was identified as Dracut Lt. Demetri Mellonakos, who oversees the department’s detectives bureau, and John Doe 2 was identified as State Police Trooper Richard Poirier, a member of the Cross Border Initiative, the multi-agency drug task force Jakuttis was assigned to.
The Sun has independently identified another Dracut officer accused of criminal activity in the lawsuit as Sgt. Gregg Byam. He is not a defendant in the case, which focuses on alleged retaliation against Jakuttis.
Jakuttis claims in the suit that a confidential informant told him Mellonakos, and occasionally Byam, would bring prostitutes to the informant’s house and ask him to procure cocaine and heroin.
The officers allegedly held sex-and-drug parties two to three times a month, according to the informant in the lawsuit.
The informant also claims that Mellonakos and Byam had a friendly relationship with a suspected high-level narcotics trafficker who has been the subject of federal and local investigations.
Jakuttis claims that Poirier harassed him and eventually caused him to be removed from the CBI task force because Poirier is friends with Mellonakos and Byam and wanted to protect them.
After the summonses were returned on Thursday, a lawyer representing Poirier sent a statement to The Sun saying that the trooper’s identity does not need to be shielded because the lawsuit against him has no merrit.
“By taking this immediate action to publicly identify him, it should be abundantly clear that Mr. Poirier has no intention of being coerced to settle with Mr. Jakuttis,” attorney Joseph Kittredge wrote. “We are confident that once Jakuttis’ baseless accusations are exposed through the scrutiny of litigation, their absurdity will be obvious.”
Attorneys provided by Dracut’s insurance company will represent the town in the lawsuit. Town Manager Jim Duggan said he has also instructed Town Counsel Jim Hall to review the allegations and the town’s past and future responses.
According to Jakutiss’ lawsuit, Dracut Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand, who is named as a defendant, was informed of the confidential informant’s accusations against Mellonakos and Byam on Feb. 18, 2015, during a meeting with Jakuttis and other members of the CBI.
A Drug Enforcement Administration corruption task force declined to investigate the allegations and the lawsuit claims that in May 2015 an FBI agent told Chartrand that his agency would assist Dracut in any investigation but would not conduct its own. The suit also states that Chartrand did not initiate an internal investigation.
More than a year ago, as part of another story, The Sun filed a public-records request with Chartrand for copies of all internal affairs reports completed by the Dracut Police Department between November 2014 and November 2015.
None of the records The Sun received as a result involved the allegations in Jakuttis’s lawsuit. It is possible that an investigation was ongoing and had not closed as of November 2015,
Neither Chartrand nor former Police Chief Kevin Richardson responded to requests for comment. The current interim chief, Neil Ouellette, who took over the department in July, declined to comment on whether there was an ongoing investigation.
Archinski’s request to the town manager should provide a definitive answer as to whether the Dracut Police Department took any action.
Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Alison Hughes said she supports Archinski’s promise to voters that the matter will be investigated one way or another.
“I would like to ensure that we have a safe and productive police department for our officers to work in,” she said, adding that the allegations are “disturbing.”
Selectmen Joseph DiRocco Jr. and Jesse Forcier declined to comment on whether the actions described in the lawsuit should be investigated until they had been briefed by the town manager on actions the Police Department may already have taken.
Selectman Tami Dristiliaris did not respond to a request for comment.
The defendants in the lawsuit have until Dec. 25 to respond to the accusations against them.
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