NBC 10 I-Team: Former Charlestown cop sentenced to three years probation
Former Charlestown officer Evan Speck was sentenced to three years probation on Wednesday morning after he pleaded guilty to three federal criminal charges including distribution of steroids and money laundering.
Speck, 34, who was a patrolman and former union president with the Charlestown Police Dept. for 10 years, pleaded guilty in August to distribution of steroids, distribution of a misbranded drug and money laundering. Now he must spend the next 18 months of his three-year probation on home confinement. The first 52 weekends of the probation will be spent at the Wyatt Detention Facility - for a total of nearly four months in prison, according to Smith.
Smith admitted that the sentencing was unusual but said he felt it covered all of what was presented to him by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island and Speck's defense attorney, Michael Lepizerra.
In addition to spending weekends at the Wyatt Detention Facility, Speck was ordered to take an ad out in the local paper to apologize to the community. He must also write a letter of apology to each of his former brothers in blue on the Charlestown Police Department. In addition, Speck must serve 1,000 hours community service. That service must be complete by the end of his probation period.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island asked the court for Speck to receive the maximum sentence allowed under federal guidelines, saying the officer’s actions demonstrated that he believed he was above the law. U.S. Assistant Attorney Dulce Donovan also said Speck's case would serve as a deterrent for others who hold positions of power. Speck's attorney painted a very different image of Speck saying he never received a speeding ticket and is an otherwise law-abiding citizen.
"He did get a break today and we can acknowledge that," Lepizerra said of Speck outside of court. "Smith gave an out-of-box sentence ... it's a chance for someone to move on," he added. "He did wrong but did a lot of good."
Speck apologized to the court, to the community, to his brothers in law enforcement, his family and his girlfriend in a six-page letter that he read in court. "There is no excuse for what I've done and I'm prepared to take full responsibility," he told the judge. "I'm asking for your leniency you honor, I'm a good person that has made a terrible mistake."
Speck resigned from his position after federal and state agents raided his Westerly home on March 20. During that raid, agents found many items associated with the receipt, packaging and resale of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, prosecutors said. They also seized more than $17,000 in cash and a 22 Glock gun from his car.
Immediately after his sentencing, Speck's family and girlfriend spoke exclusively to the NBC 10 I-Team.
Speck's father, Raymond Speck told the NBC 10 I-Team the family is relieved. "I think the judge was very fair," he said after court. "If you have to give him a jail sentence, that's a fair way to do it -- you're not holding his life back.
Raymond Speck said there's a back story to why his son did what he did and that he's not selfish as the way the government described him. While he wouldn't fully elaborate on the details of that back story, he did say: "This was direct retaliation - for him this was not a way of life for him - but he had to pay bills."
The senior Speck told the NBC 10 I-Team that his son couldn't be legally ousted, so he was unfairly suspended many times. Those suspensions and not being able to work elsewhere forced him to find other ways to pay bills, according to Speck's family. "They were trying to starve him, bankrupt him," Raymond Speck said.
Asked whether he believes his son learned anything from his actions Speck's father said, "Yes, 100 percent. He's learned his lesson."
Speck's girlfriend Annie Zelman told the I-Team she was "shocked" at the unusual sentenced handed down by Smith, but "relieved at the same time. "I'm glad the judge saw that he's a good person."
"It's been a long process," said another family member who asked not to be identied. "The affect it has had -- that is what hurts so much."
"We've always stuck together," said Speck's mother Debra Speck as she hugged other members of the family. "We always do and we always will," added Raymond Speck.