Wendy Poste’s comments to city council at last meeting of 2022

Editor’s note: These comments were presented last week to the Everett city council by lifelong resident Wendy Poste who has been seeking justice after allegedly being raped by a former Everett firefighter who served for years following the allegations against him for the Poste incident as well as another incident of sexual violence against a young woman in Salisbury.

Good evening, my name is Wendy Poste. I am a life-long resident of Everett, a homeowner, a wife and mother of two sons and a rape survivor. I am here to speak about the important of item 21. C0530-22 on the agenda before us today.

This item is personal to me, for many reasons most importantly because I have a granddaughter and if I can save her and protect her from what happened to me, I will go to any lengths to do so. In 1997, after 10 years of service to the EFD, a firefighter was convicted of indecent A&B of a child under the age of 14. He was sentenced to 2 1⁄2 years at the HOC, which was suspended in lieu of 3 years’ probation, sent to classes for sexual deviants, and placed on the sex offender registry. He went back to work the next day.

His father was also a career firefighter in Everett, and his neighbor was the Fire Chief at the time. His father’s good friend was the Mayor, you can all guess what happened; nothing. This person, who was a convicted felon, continued working in a position of trust, a position who took an oath to uphold the Constitution, always conduct himself on and off duty in a manner that reflects positively on himself, his department and the fire service in general. Accept responsibility for his actions and for the consequences of his actions. He did none of these; nor did the 2 Fire Chief’s! Instead, they allowed this sick person to continue working and distract the other men and women who took their oath seriously. For 15 years, his peers had to keep his secrets and deal with his “urges” as they called them. The second fire chief even went so far as to nominate him for the MA Fire Commission Service Award, which he received while actively on the sex offender list in 2009! The award was signed by the Fire Marshal who told me that the onus is on each individual fire chief to complete the nomination form honestly. When I contacted the Fire Marshal’s Office and presented him with the proof of this firefighter’s conviction and sex offender status, he put the item on the agenda of the next Fire Commission meeting and the award was rescinded unanimously. Not only that, but the criteria form was updated as well as the nomination form which now states: I, as head of the Fire Department, hereby attest under the pains and penalty of perjury, that the above named individual is a member in good standing, is qualified by virtue of length of service, and has not been convicted of any felony crimes, as provided for in the Massachusetts Firefighter Service Award Criteria.

His name was also removed from the Mass.Gov website (as requested). By the way, this all happened the same day as the meeting.

It should not have taken the State Fire Marshal to clean up the mess that the Everett Fire Chief at the time made. And I will state this clearly, the fire chief knew he was a sexual offender. The Everett Police were the first to know!

A year after I was drugged and raped by this firefighter, I was (and still am to this day) researching how to update the current antiquated laws. I contacted my State Rep and told him what happened. His immediate reaction was outrage and his reply was “I will do anything for you, just ask”. I requested a meeting at City Hall with the Mayor, the police chief, the fire chief, and himself. Well, I got what I asked for. He opened the meeting with “I am disgusted by what I heard, I don’t even know what to say, I will let her explain”. I began speaking about how a convicted felon had recently retired, when Mayor Demaria stopped me and asked me to walk them through the night of the rape!

Here I am in the Mayor’s conference room at a table with the top City Officials, and I had to share the most horrific, demeaning, things with the leaders of my community . . . all men. He then stopped me again to ask me what drugs were found in my system. When I finally finished my request which was to have them look at what could be done with having a convicted felon/ sex offender now a retiree’s pension looked into, I felt like no one listened. All they heard was “walk us through the night of the rape”. So, because of Covid, I waited 6 months for an answer. Actually, the PERAC sent a letter to to say that their opinion was that since he raped the child in his home and not in the fire house, he gets to keep his entire pension. The Mayor and the Asst. Solicitor were content with that ruling, and when I asked the Mayor if he would speak to me about why a sex offender was working in a public position of trust, I was told that the mayor is not available for the near future. The door was shut and they never responded to another email, phone call, newspaper article, etc.

One honest truth came out of the meeting, though. When I brought up the sex offender status, the interim fire chief at the time spoke up and said “we all knew he was a sex offender”. Every one of them put their heads down. Even they were ashamed at the truth.

The Everett City Council has the power to create language that will protect its citizens. Stop for a moment and think about how this change will protect innocent people from predators that are within their community. We should be able to bring our children to the fire station without worrying about sexual predators, or go to City sponsored holiday events without worrying about our own city officials!

To this day, I have not received an apology or even an acknowledgement from the City of Everett, nor the Fire Department. Protecting sex offenders does not do anyone any good! It nearly tore my family apart, and I for one will never be the same.

Leave a Reply