Scott J. Croteau
MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.
The Stow, Massachusetts police chief has been relieved of his duties after a video was posted online prompting Massachusetts State Police investigators to meet with him.
Sources told MassLive that investigators believe it was Police Chief Ralph Marino on the video, which was posted by Predator Poachers Massachusetts.
The group states it catches predators on dating sites. The group has no affiliation with law enforcement. TB Daily News reports the group has caught 30 people allegedly trying to solicit sex with minors.
NBC10 Boston reports the chief met state police over the weekend. Marino, according to the statement released by the town, placed himself on indefinite administrative leave after the meeting.
Sgt. Darren Thraen is now listed at the department’s acting police chief, according to the department’s website.
The town said in the statement to NBC10 Boston that officials will cooperate in “any investigation of Chief Marino or any other matters.”
“There is no reason to believe that the activities being investigated involve or concern the operations of the Stow Police Department,” the statement said.
The statement did not discuss the video.
In a video posted to the group’s YouTube page, a man calls himself an activist while confronting Marino. The video shows Marino leaving in what appears to be a police-issued vehicle. The group claims Marino tried to solicit a minor.
The man from the Predator Poachers Massachusetts group said in the video he poses as a young boy online in order to catch predators.
A chat log shown by the group in the video shows a sexual discussion between a member of the group and another person. That person, who is allegedly to be Marino, sends photographs. The photographs shown in the video appear to be Marino.
TD Daily News and the chat log show the man chatting with the group was trying to meet a 14-year-old boy.
A member of the group confronts the man, who appears to be Marino. The meeting appears to have happened over the past couple of days in Worcester County.
The Worcester District Attorney’s Office said it had no comment or statement.
Marino was in front of cameras on Tuesday when police were searching for a 2-year-old girl who went missing. The girl was found.
It appears the Facebook page for the Stow, Massachusetts Police Department has now been taken down.
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