A federal judge has ordered former Charlestown Police Officer Evan C. Speck, who was convicted on federal charges of steroid distribution and money laundering, to apologize to the community through letters and by taking out an ad in The Sun.
U.S. District Court Judge William Smith handed down the sentence on Wednesday. Speck must also serve three years of probation and complete 1,000 hours of community service. During his first year of probation, Speck will spend weekends at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls and will be subject to home confinement for the rest of the week. Under the terms of the sentence, he may leave only to participate in an electrician apprenticeship program.
Speck, a 10-year police veteran, resigned from the department six days after federal officials raided his home in Westerly in March. He pleaded guilty plea in August to charges of possession of steroids with the intent to distribute, distribution of a misbranded drug and money laundering.
Under the plea agreement, Speck will forfeit three firearms and $17,954 in cash seized during the raid, plus $536,000 in assets that he had received as a result of his illegal activities.
Court officials said Wednesday that Speck also agreed to drop two civil lawsuits he had filed against the town and the Charlestown Police Department last year. The town’s attorneys had requested in September that the civil cases, alleging discrimination, be dismissed, based on the criminal violations that had come to light, and Speck was given until Dec. 1 to answer that motion. Those cases will now be formally dismissed, court officials confirmed.
Speck was indicted this year after a search warrant led to the discovery of the steroid distribution operation. According to court documents, he had been ordering testosterone cipionate from China and was repackaging it under the name “TabMan Pharmaceuticals.” Officials said Speck concealed the transactions by using remittance services, false names and bitcoin digital currency.
Town officials had favored a stiffer penalty. “We are disappointed that Mr. Speck did not receive a stronger sentence for the multiple felonies he committed while serving as a sworn police officer in a position of trust,” said Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz, who attended the hearing on Wednesday. “Police officers are supposed to uphold the law and set an example for the community, and he decided he was above the law when committing his crimes. He clearly knew right from wrong as evidenced by the great lengths he went to to conceal those crimes.”
Allowing such leniency sends the wrong message to police officers in Charlestown and elsewhere, Stankiewicz said. In a phone interview Wednesday afternoon, he also said that while the town was pleased that Speck had dropped the civil suits, town officials were always confident that those cases were “frivolous in nature” and would eventually be dismissed.
“Fortunately, Mr. Speck’s crimes were an isolated incident, and they occurred while he was on leave of absence,” he said. “The taxpayers of Charlestown can be confident that we hold all members of the police department to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity that should be expected of every sworn police officer.”
According to court documents, prosecutors had argued in favor of the maximum sentence of 57 months in prison, saying that Speck had “seriously eroded the public confidence of law enforcement.”
Prosecutors also argued that Speck operated his illegal distribution business for more than two years and did not take responsibility or cease wrongdoing until the evidence was seized this year.
But Speck’s attorney, Michael J. Lepizzera Jr., of Warwick, argued in a motion filed on Tuesday that Speck was not only cooperative with federal officials and admitted his mistakes, but had gone above and beyond to cooperate during the investigation.
The motion said that after the raid in Westerly, Speck turned over additional drugs and related profits that were not part of the initial seizure. Lepizzera further argued that Speck did not conduct his illegal business while he was serving as an officer, and had no prior criminal history.
In a pre-sentencing letter submitted to the court on Tuesday, Speck apologized to the judge, his family and the community before requesting leniency. “There is no excuse for what I’ve done and I’m prepared to take full responsibility for them. Everyone has choices in life. The choice I made was the wrong choice,” Speck wrote.
The letter also apologized directly to the Charlestown Police Department, acknowledging that his actions made life more difficult for those in the department.
In the months since his arrest, Speck said that he had begun working with his father, Raymond Speck, as an electrician apprentice, and intended to pursue a license. He also indicated that he had begun his community service by working with animals.
“I’m a good person that has made a terrible mistake. I’ve lost everything I’ve worked so hard for and about 90 percent of my friends,” he wrote.
He added, “I do intend to do whatever I can to pay back my debt to society and to live a law-abiding life, as my parents taught me to live.”
Charlestown Police Chief Jeffrey Allen could not immediately be reached for comment.