Former Watertown Police Officer Denied Pension After Judge Reverses Lower Court Ruling

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A former Watertown Police officer will be denied his pension after a ruling by a Middlesex Superior Court judge.

Joseph Deignan, a Framingham resident who was a sergeant in the WPD, plead guilty to  using a person’s identification – which he obtained in his role as supervisor of the Traffic Division – to fraudulently get prescription drugs. He was arrested in December 2012 in Marlborough and plead guilty in Federal Court in August 2013 and was sentenced to three months in prison and was fined.

As a result, in November 2013, the Watertown Retirement Board started proceeding to have Deignan’s pension forfeited because he was found guilty of “a criminal offense involving violation of laws applicable to his office or position,” according to court documents.

Deignan appealed the decision in District Court, and a judge reversed the Retirement Board’s ruling in June 2015. In August 2015, the Retirement Board asked for the District Court’s ruling to be reviewed.

On Aug. 10, 2017, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Maureen B. Hogan’s ruling reversed the ruling of the Framingham District Court which had reinstated Deignan’s pension, according to court papers.

In his appeal to the District Court, Deignan said that the Retirement Board’s ruling did not meet the standard that there was a link between his position as Traffic Supervisor and using a false prescription. The Superior Court ruling said that argument was “unpersuasive.”

The charges stem from Deignan’s time as supervisor of the WPD’s Traffic Division. Court records show that from May 2010 to December 2012, Deignan obtained controlled substances – prescription drugs such as Oxycodone, Vicodin and other Benzodiazapines – and did so using another man’s driver’s license.

In his plea hearing, Deignan admitted that he got the license from a man who was pulled over by Watertown Police. The man pulled over by another officer, who confiscated the man’s license when it was learned the license was suspended. Deignan admitted in the plea hearing to taking the other man’s license and using it over 100 times to get false prescriptions for controlled substances.

Deignan was arrested on Dec. 7, 2012 at a CVS in Marlborough when a pharmacist called police about a suspicious prescription. Deignan was arrested when he came back to pick up the prescription.

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