A Team 5 investigation has uncovered disturbing new allegations of hazing at the MBTA Transit Police Academy, a facility that has earned a reputation among local police departments for producing some of the finest police officers in the state. NewsCenter 5’s Kathy Curran reported on Friday that the academy and its instructors are under investigation.
This definitely concerns me, this is something that needs to be addressed,” said Medford police Chief Leo Sacco. Sacco told Team 5 he’s troubled because the allegations come from his recruit, Mark Cardarelli, a decorated Marine. In a report obtained by Team 5 Investigates, Cardarelli claims training officers called him homophobic slurs and degrading names. He claims there was even negative talk about Chief Sacco’s family.
“Some of the allegations were personal to me and my family so I was somewhat shocked and taken aback, some of the most concerning items were pointed at Officer Cardarelli,” said Sacco.
Some of the allegations detail how recruits were forced to take naked showers while touching each other under freezing water, and being forced to eat multiple Ring Dings before a long run. According to the report, when one recruit got sick, an academy officer snapped pictures. On another occasion, Cardarelli claims he was sprayed with dirty water while on a run through a cemetery.
Cardarelli wrote that he swallowed a mouthful of the dark, Coca-Cola colored water and he believes that’s what landed him in the hospital with a serious infection requiring emergency surgery.
Former Boston police lieutenant and professor of criminal justice Tom Nolan says if true, the behavior is unacceptable. “It’s completely counter-productive. I’m afraid it’s going to send the wrong message if these kinds of officers are coming out of this training setting that they would go out and treat the public in a like or similar manner,” Nolan said.
Cardarelli is the son of MBTA police officer Danny Cardarelli who sued the T for allegedly trying to cover up a murder. The suit was later dismissed because the statute of limitations ran out.
Team 5 Investigates has also discovered in 2010, a 43-year old female recruit from Walpole, Mass. filed a discrimination complaint against the Academy claiming she was called “grandma” and was forced to carry a walker during training. She ultimately withdrew her case. But the instructor she accused happens to be one of those accused in the current investigation.
“I know they won’t condone any bad behavior, if that’s what took place,” said Sacco.
Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the MBTA, told Team 5 Investigates the agency has retained outside counsel to investigate and that no other recruits from the current class have filed any complaints. Medford’s mayor and police chief removed recruit Cardarelli from the academy this week because they were concerned about his safety and didn’t want the allegations to disrupt the class.