A U.S. Army soldier who was poised to join Abington’s police department has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 20 women, spurring prosecutors to bring the first of what they expect will be several criminal charges against the Abington native.
Richard C. Curtin, 28, appeared in Brockton Superior Court via videoconference on Thursday to answer to a single charge of rape. He pleaded not guilty from the county jail, where he’s been held for more than two weeks in connection to an alleged rape of his romantic partner in 2014.
Curtin’s attorney, Georgia Petropoulos, characterized the woman’s decision to seek criminal charges against Curtin as politically motivated.
“She goes to the police department on June 30 and says, ‘The reason why I’m coming to you is because of everything that’s going on with police officers,'” Petropolous said. “She knows this because he tweeted from Afghanistan that he was number one on the list to be an Abington police officer. This came right at the heels of riots and everything that was happening with poor Mr. Floyd.”
Curtin and his accuser, whose name was kept private during Thursday’s arraignment, were in a consensual sexual relationship before the 2014 assault, according to both the prosecutor and Curtin’s defense attorney. The encounter that led to the rape charge began consensually as well.
Curtin had been drinking at a bar in Quincy, when the woman picked him up and drove them to his home, according to a police report summarized in court by a Plymouth County prosecutor. While having sex, the woman said she realized Curtin was not using a condom she’d asked him to wear, the prosecutor said.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague said Curtin ignored the woman’s efforts to stop the encounter and told her to “shut the f— up.” The victim spent the night at Curtin’s home before he kicked her out in the morning, Sprague said. The two continued their relationship for some time after that.
Six years later, Sprague said the victim has come forward with more than 20 other women accusing Curtin of sexual misconduct.
Several of the women are cooperating with criminal investigations, Sprague said. Curtin’s case in Abington is the first to result in criminal charges.
Petropolous said the women accusing her client of sexual misconduct met through a Facebook group created by the woman seeking charges in Abington.
In a video the alleged victim posted to Facebook, which Petropolous played in court on Thursday, the woman stops short of calling her encounter with Curtin a rape, saying the term sexual assault felt more appropriate.
Sprague said the woman’s unfamiliarity with criminal law should have no bearing on the resulting charge, which the prosecutor’s office designated as a single count of rape.
Judge Maynard Kirpalani set Curtin’s bail at $7,500. Curtin remains in jail.
Petropolous said the Army plans to keep Curtin employed at a base in upstate New York. His supervising officer will ensure Curtin appears at his court dates in Massachusetts, she said.
As for Curtin’s aspirations of following in his father and uncle’s footsteps to become a police officer, Petropolous said the victim “succeeded in ending that.”
The Abington Police Department had ranked Curtin near the top of its list of applicants seeking to join the force, according to an eligibility list the department has published online as part of the Massachusetts Civil Service hiring process.
The rankings are based on a number of factors, including the applicant’s test scores on the Civil Service exam, their status as a military veteran and the town they live in.
Curtin grew up in Abington, playing football at the high school and joining an electrical worker’s union before enlisting in the Army in 2016. His father and uncle are police officers in nearby communities.
The Abington police’s eligibility list, updated on Friday, still lists Curtin as fifth in line out of 645 prospective officers seeking to join the force. The department’s chief and deputy chief could not be reached immediately for comment on Friday.
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