A Massachusetts school superintendent was arrested Wednesday in connection with an investigation into тһгᴇɑтᴇпɪпɡ messages sent to a local candidate for police chief.
Chicopee Superintendent of Schools Lynn Clark is accused of sending 99 text messages to ɪптɪᴍɪԀɑтᴇ an applicant into withdrawing for the top police job, according to the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.Clark appeared in federal court Wednesday on a charge of making false statements to federal investigators. Her attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case was referred to the FBI in December after the candidate, who was not identified, withdrew the application to be police chief. Chicopee Mayor John Vieau told FBI agents that he felt the withdrawal “unfairly affected the integrity of the selection process,” the criminal complaint said.
According to the complaint, the messages threatened “reputational harm” if the candidate did not bow out of the competitive job search.
The candidate told FBI investigators that some messages included “private material” the candidate had sent to Clark through personal email. Clark also sent messages she had received that included instructions to pressure the candidate to withdraw the application, the complaint said.
Clark met with investigators in December and January, saying said she had received numerous threatening messages, as well, the complaint said. She had “deleted every text message from her cellular telephone” and told FBI agents that she feared information that was leaked about the job candidate would also “tarnish her reputation.”She is alleged to have urged FBI agents to close the investigation before they identified a suspect, casting suspicion on other city employees and even members of her own family.
Further investigation found that Clark bought fake phone numbers through an app to send about 99 messages to herself, the job candidate and the candidate’s wife, the complaint said. Records from what agents described as a “burner app” found connections to Clark’s home internet service provider.
When she was confronted with the evidence tying her to the burner app, Clark told FBI agents that she wanted the candidate to be “knocked down a peg,” the complaint said. Clark also said that she felt the applicant’s accomplishments were a direct result of some of her own work and that the candidate’s promotion would negatively affect her position as superintendent.The mayor’s office said it was aware of Clark’s arrest Wednesday morning and was working to ensure the schools continue to operate smoothly, “as the education of children remains paramount.”
“Today’s arrest is disheartening for the City of Chicopee,” the statement said. “The School Committee will meet tonight in executive session to decide on a proper course of action.”
Clark could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if she is convicted, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday.Watch the video below: