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Monday, February 9, 2009

Police Chief Guilty of Accessory After Fact in Officer's Attempted Extortion

Selectmen to continue Cachopa hearing next Friday
Selectmen place Cachopa on upaid leave
The Enterprise by Allan Stein - February 6, 2009

STOUGHTON, MA — Selectmen on Friday granted Police Chief Manual J. Cachopa a one-week stay of his dismissal hearing and placed him on unpaid administrative leave until then. The five-person board went into closed session Friday at Town Hall and emerged 20 minutes later with its decision. “In terms of protecting the town’s rights we have continued the hearing,” selectmen Chairman John Kowalczyk said. Kowalczyk said the board decided to continue the disciplinary hearing no later than Friday after Cachopa’s attorney, Robert George, was unable to represent him at the first hearing. Cachopa also did not attend Friday’s hearing. Kowalczyk said that Cachopa will no longer be receiving his $139,000 salary, effective immediately.

In January, a Norfolk Superior Court jury found Cachopa, 57, guilty of being an accessory after the fact to attempted extortion by a subordinate officer. The jury found Cachopa not guilty of a lesser charge of public corruption. Cachopa is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 26 and faces up to seven years in state prison on the felony conviction. He also stands to lose his public pension. In July 2007, a jury convicted former Stoughton Police Sgt. David M. Cohen, 42, of four public corruption charges stemming from an incident on April 30, 2002, in which Cohen placed a former Stoughton businessman in handcuffs while attempting to collect a $10,000 debt owed to a friend. The charges against Cachopa stemmed from the same incident. A third police officer was acquitted.

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