A state police lieutenant has admitted he acted in a manner unbecoming a police officer when he left his department-issued gun unlocked in a bureau inside his Sandwich home 18 months ago, a state police spokesman said.
Lt. Richard Bolduc, 52, of Sandwich accepted responsibility for the lapse just as his case was set to go before a state police trial board Tuesday, state police spokesman David Procopio said yesterday. The trial board is a military-style court used by the state police to hear internal cases.
In June 2008, the veteran trooper's son, who was 12 at the time, grabbed Bolduc's Sig Sauer P226 .40-caliber handgun from an unlocked bureau, took it to a neighbor's house, pointed it at a 5-year-old girl and pulled the trigger. The gun was not loaded, according to Sandwich police, but during their investigation, police found a loaded clip in the same unlocked drawer.
Procopio refused to say what punishment Bolduc was given.
But a law enforcement source said Bolduc, who earns a base salary of $90,564.76, was allowed to give up 20 vacation days for violating two department regulations — the policy requiring guns to be safely stored and conduct unbecoming a police officer. By avoiding a suspension, Bolduc doesn't lose any seniority, said the source, who is familiar with state police discipline.
Procopio said Bolduc gets 25 vacation days annually.
The veteran trooper could have faced anything from a letter in his file to being terminated for his actions, Procopio said. Procopio said state police policy prohibits him from disclosing the punishment, but acknowledged forfeiting time off is one of the punishments allowed by the state police. "I can't confirm or comment on the discipline of any department member," he said.
Procopio also refused comment on whether Bolduc expressed any remorse for the incident, which terrorized the young girl and her sisters.
Reached yesterday, Bolduc refused comment. "Never call my phone again," he said.
Bolduc is assigned to the state police barracks in Holden.
Brian Cunha, who represents the girl's family in a civil suit against Bolduc, declined to comment on the trooper's punishment, but said the girl has been undergoing psychological treatment since the incident.
"Having a gun pointed at your head and having the trigger pulled has to be one of the most traumatic things in your life," Cunha said. "She's traumatized, no doubt about it."
Sandwich police charged Bolduc with improper storage of a firearm, which is a felony, but that case was dismissed by a judge citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that called the constitutionality of gun storage laws into question. He could have faced up to 10 years in prison if he had been convicted of that charge.
Last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard testimony in a gun storage case similar to the Bolduc case but has not yet issued a decision. District attorneys across the state, including Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe, signed on in support of the Middlesex County appeal and are awaiting the ruling from the state's highest court.
Bolduc's son was charged in juvenile court, but those cases are not open to the media.
Procopio said Tuesday's admission by Bolduc ends the internal investigation. The Times requested a copy of that investigation in September but was told it was still considered an active investigation until a resolution was reached. The newspaper again requested a copy of the state police report yesterday but has not yet received it.