FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chloe Gotsis (Attorney General)
January 15, 2016
QUINCY MAN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH IMPERSONATING A WOMAN ONLINE AND SOLICITING ACTS OF RAPE, KIDNAPPING AND ASSAULT
QUINCY – A Quincy man has been arrested today in connection with allegedly impersonating a woman from Groveland on an adult website and soliciting acts of kidnapping, rape and assault, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Thomas Sheehan, age 45, of Quincy, was arrested today by Groveland Police with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and Quincy Police. He was arrested on charges of solicitation to commit assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (one count), solicitation to commit rape (one count), solicitation to commit rape of a child (one count) and solicitation to commit kidnapping (one count).
Sheehan is expected to be arraigned Tuesday morning in Haverhill District Court.
“We allege that this defendant put this woman and her family in grave danger by impersonating her online, posting photos of her and her children, and communicating with strangers who sought to do personal harm,” said AG Healey. “Our office is taking a serious look at whether the current laws appropriately address the severity of these alleged crimes.”
“This is a deeply disturbing situation, in which the suspect allegedly stole the identity of one of our residents and attempted to use their identity to cause significant harm to this person,” Groveland Police Chief Robert J. Kirmelewicz said. “I want to single out Groveland Police Detective Steven Petrone for his diligent work on this case. We are also very grateful to the Attorney General’s Office and our law enforcement partners at the Quincy Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police. These strong partnerships and aggressive police work helped bring this suspect to justice.”
Groveland Police, with assistance from State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and Quincy Police, determined that Sheehan was impersonating the Groveland woman on an adult website and communicating with people on the website who expressed an interest in stalking, raping, kidnapping and torturing the woman and her children per Sheehan’s request. The online profile of the Groveland woman Sheehan created has been taken down from the website.
Law enforcement traced the account claiming to be the Groveland woman to Sheehan. The case was referred to the AG’s Office by the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office and the Essex District Attorney’s Office.
State Police today obtained and executed a search warrant authorizing the search of a Quincy residence linked to Sheehan. Subsequent initial investigation of devices linked the account to Sheehan.
The investigation is ongoing. These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Ralph, Chief of AG Healey’s Cyber Crime Division. It was investigated by Groveland Police with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, Quincy Police and investigators from the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab. The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office and Essex District Attorney’s Office also assisted in the investigation of this case.