Attorney Vincent Ragosta discusses the city’s pension fight …
Updated: Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 9:48 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 24 May 2010, 11:27 PM EDT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - New details are coming to light in the infamous Providence Police cheating scandal. The Target 12 Investigators have obtained FBI 302 reports and a final report on an internal investigation at the police department.
The paperwork reveals just how close former Providence Police Captain John "Jack" Ryan came to being criminally charged. The documents are part of a legal fight Ryan is having with the city to keep his pension.
FBI 302 Reports
October 3rd, 2000 turned out to be a tough day for Captain Ryan.
According to internal FBI 302 reports, Ryan was brought in to see "Operation Plunder Dome" lead investigator, Special Agent Dennis Aiken. According to Aiken's report, Ryan answered a number of questions about police hiring policies. When asked specifically how often he spoke to then-Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Chief of Staff Frank Corrente, Ryan replied:
"Frank Corrente wouldn't call me."
Then the line of questioning changed. Aiken began asking about Ryan's relationship with convicted "Plunder Dome" player Richard Autiello. Aiken writes:
"At this point in time, Ryan became visibly upset and asked, "Where is this going, Dennis?'"
As the questioning continued, the 302 Report states:
"Ryan then stated that he did not like the way the interview was going and he believed that he had become a target of the investigation... and would be obtaining legal counsel."
Ryan did just that. Thirteen days later, Ryan walked back into the FBI building with his attorney. But this time, according to Aiken's report, things were different; Ryan had signed a proffer.
Eyewitness News legal analyst Lou Pulner said proffers are signed when someone is a target or facing criminal liability.
"Under those circumstances, people tend to soften up and provide information to avoid either prosecution or significant jail time," Pulner said.
With a promise his words wouldn't come back to legally bite him as long as he was truthful with FBI agents, Ryan's interview was strikingly different.
This time Ryan:
"...admitted to receiving no more than six calls from Corrente."
According to the FBI Report, Ryan also admitted to providing source sheets for police promotional exams, giving some officers taking the test an unfair advantage.
The reports are coming to light as the City of Providence Retirement Board looks to revoke Ryan's pension.
"Those reports are very helpful to the city. They were turned over by the U.S. Attorney's office," said Attorney Vincent Ragosta who represents the Retirement Board in the Ryan case.
"What I find surprising is the blatant admission of the corruption of the promotional process by a police officer who also a member of the bar," said Ragosta.
Police Internal Report
Also coming to light, a final report in the internal investigation by the Providence Police. The report was ordered by Colonel Dean Esserman and dated January 23, 2004.
The document shows both the U.S. Attorney's Office and the State Attorney General's Office were looking into possible criminal charges against Ryan.
The report shows that the Attorney General's office even brought Ryan before a statewide grand jury in February of 2002. According to the transcripts, Ryan plead the fifth the entire time.
Then, less than a year later, the state investigation came to a screeching halt. As the report states:
"...the tragic Station Club fire occurred, which stressed the AG's resources."
On the federal end, U.S. Attorney Margaret Curran wrote a letter that though Ryan "plainly engaged in conduct that was simply wrong," the statute of limitations was up on federal charges.
In the meantime, the Providence Police were conducting an internal review, according to the report. We now know the Providence Police repeatedly tried to bring Ryan in for questioning. The report states:
"Captain Ryan however, became conveniently unavailable."
The report reveals the Department even went as far as staking out Ryan's home to no avail. Then, according to the report, the city heard from Ryan one last time. In June 2002 he filed retirement papers with City Hall, ending his 20-year career and effectively ending any shot at an internal review.
Teaching and Writing
Target 12 has learned Ryan, who still lives in Rhode Island, is teaching for Indianapolis-based "Public Agency Training Council." Instructing other law enforcement agencies on topics such as hostage negotiations to internal affairs.
Ryan has also written or co-written several books on law enforcement. Target 12 ordered one of his books "The Law and Best Practices of Successful Police Operations." In one chapter, Ryan stresses the importance of a strong internal affairs process. Ryan writes:
"In other words, the agency sends a message to officers, by its lack of investigation of internal matters, that it tacitly approves of the conduct."
his attorney, Ryan declined to be interviewed for this report.
Ragosta said he expects Ryan's pension case to go before the state Supreme Court in the fall.
Statement of Sheldon Whitehouse on decision not to press charges:
“The ‘cheating-for-promotions’ scandal was a sad time for our capital city’s police department. As Attorney General, I conducted a thorough review to determine which individuals involved in the scandal could be successfully prosecuted. In the course of that review, I determined that there was not sufficient evidence to bring a successful criminal case against Mr. Ryan.”
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