Watertown Town Councilor and Governor's Councilor Marilyn Devaney agreed to write a letter of apology and submit to nine months of probation to end an assault and battery case that has dragged on for 15 months.
Town Councilor Marilyn Devaney agreed to write a letter of apology and submit to nine months of probation to end an assault and battery case that has dragged on for 15 months.
The resolution does not find Devaney guilty of allegations that she threw a bagged curling iron at a store clerk in Waltham. Instead, the two sides agreed to a statement saying Devaney was “upset” and threw the bag, not striking the clerk. Devaney agreed to write what prosecutors called a “letter of apology” to the clerk.
Devaney said Thursday that the “dangerous weapon” in question was not even a curling iron, but rather a hot-air brush.
After a consoling embrace with her attorney, Janice Bassil, the veteran Watertown councilor was emotional as she left Newton District Court with her family at her side.
“All I know is that I’m relieved it’s over,” Devaney said after the hearing. “It’s been too long and has taken a toll on my family.”
Adriana Latif, the alleged victim, told the judge through her tears that the past year had been difficult for her.
According to police reports, on April 13, 2007, Latif would not take Devaney’s check to purchase three items at Sally Beauty Supply because she did not have her driver’s license. After refusing to accept the check, Latif claimed that a bag full of the products was thrown at her.
“What [Devaney] did is definitely disrespectful and harmful to me,” she said. “ I’m glad she could admit that what she did is wrong.”
But the settlement is not an admission of guilt, according to Bassil, and has been blown out of proportion because of Devaney’s political prominence. Devaney is also a statewide elected official, serving on the Governor’s Council.
Bassil said media coverage of the incident has been “salacious” and “unfortunate.”
“I think it has been unfair to everyone involved,” she said.
Devaney will now have to be on her best behavior until April in order to have the charge dismissed. If another incident occurs, the case could be put back on trial, according to assistant District Attorney Sean Casey.
Devaney said the case could have been settled earlier, but Latif wanted money in exchange.
“I’m not going to be blackmailed,” Devaney said. “I wouldn’t put my integrity behind me and pay her off when I was innocent. I know that I did the right thing.”
On Wednesday, Judge Gregory Flynn denied a defense motion from Devaney to have the assault and battery case against her thrown out, according to prosecutors.
Bassil had argued that the veteran councilor has been singled out for “vindictive prosecution” because of her position as a public official. Flynn rejected that argument.
“This has been an experience,” she said. “Innocent people become the victim, and now I know the other side.”
Barring Devaney breaking probation and the case returning to court, Thursday’s court action renders moot a subpoena of TAB & Press reporter Jillian Fennimore. Devaney had asked that Fennimore testify about how she learned Waltham Police were charging Devaney with assault and battery. The TAB & Press had filed a motion to quash Devaney’s subpoena.
Watertown TAB & Press