The police did not tell the Ministry of Social Development that its candidate was under investigation for rape

Police did not inform the Department of Social Development that a potential employee who would work with vulnerable tenants was being investigated for the rape of a tenant he had sued in his previous job in property management.

Things this week reported that in 2020 the Department (MSD) hired Dean Francis Brosnahan, who was under police investigation for enticing a woman to have sex by lying to her about having been subjected to a vasectomy. He had pursued her through a list he had compiled through the company he worked for, Oxygen Property Management. She got pregnant.

Brosnahan quit his role with Oxygen – Things understands that other tenants also filed complaints about Brosnahan with the company – and was soon hired by MSD as a housing broker. Both Oxygen and MSD were unaware that Brosnahan had also resigned from a previous Correctional Service position, facing allegations from three women of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.

The plaintiff surrendered to police in October 2019. MSD requested a police vet in January 2020, who, a month into Brosnahan’s employment, returned “incomplete.” Police suggested MSD reapply months later, in May 2020. Brosnahan was already working.

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In late May, MSD learned that Brosnahan had been charged with rape — through Brosnahan and his lawyer rather than a second check — and Brosnahan resigned three weeks later. Wellington regional manager Jamie Robinson said that after learning of the charges, MSD took immediate steps to meet with Brosnahan and raise their concerns. Within three weeks, two attempts to meet him were delayed by Brosnahan, Robinson said.

Brosnahan later pleaded guilty to an amended charge of indecent assault — the summary of facts stating that the plaintiff’s consent was conditional on the vasectomy — and a representative charge of assault. He was sentenced in Wellington District Court on Friday.

On Wednesday, a police spokesman said the fact of the investigation was not disclosed to MSD when he asked for the police vet.

“The investigation was in its early stages – the investigation team advised that it was not appropriate to release this information due to the safety of the victims and fairness to the plaintiff,” said the spokesperson.

Inviting MSD to reapply months later, “allowed the investigation to progress and decide whether or not charges should be brought, or whether details of the investigation could be released.”

Police may release any information they have if it is relevant to the request for verification, which may include an individual’s conviction history, traffic history, active charges and arrest warrants. , charges that did not result in a conviction, including those where a person may have been acquitted, any interactions with police deemed relevant to the role being checked, including investigations that do not have not resulted in prosecution, as well as incidents of family harm.

Ruth Money says common sense should have prevailed when police were asked to examine Work and Income prospect Dean Brosnahan, who was facing a rape complaint.

Ruth Money says common sense should have prevailed when police were asked to examine Work and Income prospect Dean Brosnahan, who was facing a rape complaint.

Victims Advisor Ruth Money said the police were negligent in not releasing the information, especially since Brosnahan had sued the victim in his role as a property manager. It is understood that part of Brosnahan’s role at Work and Income was to match tenants with potential properties. MSD said that when he became aware of the charges, Brosnahan no longer had direct contact with customers.

“The police should have released this information, which MSD actually depends on them,” Money said. “Everyone is hiding behind this privacy stuff and at some point there has to be a privilege around protecting people. You have to use common sense. »

Money said the verification system needed an overhaul.

Departments are the biggest users of police oversight services, and a 2016 review of the service by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner recommended that the government develop a formal statutory framework for control, in response to a need for greater consistency with regard to the dissemination of information. Confidentiality issues have been raised.

Money fears that the offenders whose names have been removed will not be caught by the police. Brosnahan was not initially cleared for removal, but was later released. That suppression ended on Friday when Judge John Macdonald said he failed to meet the legal test for secrecy. This was after the Crown objected to the order, Things, and prison attorney Arthur Taylor. MSD declined to answer questions about the case as Brosnahan’s name was removed.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said MSD “acted on the information it had, as soon as it had it… MSD has human resource policies that it must follow when a person employed by him is charged with a crime, especially if she maintains her innocence. MSD has followed these processes correctly.

Robinson had previously said that neither of Brosnahan’s references worried MSD.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said MSD acted appropriately in hiring Dean Brosnahan.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said MSD acted appropriately in hiring Dean Brosnahan.

Brosnahan was sentenced to community custody and community service last week after Judge Macdonald said Brosnahan’s offense had a significant impact on the plaintiff, who was a single mother of two. She had to stop working following her unexpected pregnancy and told the court she was “scarred forever”.

The plaintiff told the court that she felt Brosnahan held a significant position of power, given that he could help put a roof over her head, or not.

After becoming pregnant, Brosnahan repeatedly urged her to “kill the baby” by lying on top of her or pushing her into traffic.

Judge Macdonald described the case as unlike anything he had seen in his 47-year career, and it was thought to be the first such case to be brought to court – where a man had been convicted of lying to a woman about a vasectomy. .

Joel C. Hicks