During Perry's tenure with the Wareham police department he defended an officer against two separate charges of sexual assault – one of which Perry was present at the scene of the crime. Astonishingly, Perry is apparently remorseless of his handling of the two cases. In a May 2010 investigative report by the Globe, Perry said “I did what I think is good police work.” The people of Massachusetts’ tenth congressional district rejected Perry's candidacy. However, Brown stood by Perry's side, even as the allegations of misconduct were well documented. As Peter Gelzinis points out in this morning's Herald:
Even as Lisa Allen came forward to accuse former state rep and Wareham police officer Jeff Perry of doing nothing while a fellow cop sexually assaulted her eight years ago, Brown didn’t just ignore her, he pooh-poohed the story. … “Voters don’t want to hear about this (the sexual abuse of Allen),” Brown told a Hyannis crowd in June after they ponied up $1,200 a head to attend a fund-raiser he hosted for Perry. “They want to get back to the issues,” Scott insisted.
Brown even went so far as to record a radio ad defending Perry’s integrity and attacking critics of Perry’s handling of the sexual assaults:
Sadly Jeff’s opponent in the race, Bill Keeting has decided to focus almost entirely on negative attacks concerning an incident that took place almost two decades ago and which didn’t directly involve Jeff. These are the same ugly tactics that were used against me in my campaign for the United States Senate. … Jeff is a decent and honorable person and I would be proud to have him join me in bringing common sense back to Washington.
Now, just a week after Brown shared his painful personal story, questions are being asked about Brown’s apparent double standard. In fact yesterday, Brown refused to answer a question about the blatant hypocrisy:
As Brown and his staff entered the State House, he said he would not be taking any more questions, not even acknowledging one final query about former police officer and state Rep. Jeff Perry and the allegations during his run for Congress last year that he failed to intervene when another cop sexually harassed a teenaged girl. “We’re all done,” Brown said.
All of this just raises a host of tough questions about a politician we actually know fairly little about. If he could overlook his past to stick by Jeff Perry so strongly – even explicitly defending him – what does this say about his principles, about what's really important to him? Why is his past useful as a story during a book promotion tour, but not important enough to guide him when he does the politically expedient? What exactly is Scott Brown's compass, what does he really care about? Judging by the non-answers so far, I'm not sure we'll get an answer we can trust from Scott Brown, but I'm listening.