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This is Sandra Birchmore from Stoughton.
Sandra’s life was a series of tragedies before she committed suicide in February of 2021 at the age of 23 while pregnant. She was raised by a single mother and her grandmother, both of whom died in 2016. In 2019 her aunt and last living caregiver also passed away. She posted about how much she missed them constantly on Facebook.
But one thing remained constant throughout these tragedies – her admiration for the Stoughton Police Department. Sandra wanted to be a cop and looked up to police officers in her community. She was part of a cadet program at Stoughton High School that was run by former deputy chief Robert Devine.
Devine had been on the SPD since the late 90’s, and was well known and highly respected in town. In 2011 then FBI director Robert Mueller flew Devine to Nashville to present him with an award for his work in investigating corruption within his own department (SPD). He then served as the department’s spokesman and deputy chief.
In 2013 Devine began to have an affair with a woman named Tiffany Overstreet. This is hardly news and would normally be nobody’s business, but in that changed in 2014 when he claims that he and his wife (who is also a cop in a different town) were receiving threatening messages from Overstreet, and they obtained restraining orders in October of 2014.
Overstreet allegedly violated the order by sending flowers to his wife, and then in November of 2014 by sending naked pictures of her and Devine to his coworkers and their spouses. In December she was charged with violating the order. Devine was demoted from his role as spokesman and deputy chief, but Chief Paul Shastany stood by him and referred to him as the victim.
However, despite claiming that he was the victim, Devine admittedly continued to meet up with Overstreet for sex. He claimed he was only doing so in order to save her life because she would commit suicide if he didn’t continue to plow ahead.
His penis kept her alive. He’s a real hero.
Devine effectively weaponized the police against Overstreet and got them to raid her home in Easton in order to seize her computers to prove she was the one sending the naked pictures.
A normal citizen would NEVER be able to get the police to take such swift action over anonymous emails, especially in a state with no revenge porn laws. Overstreet also reported a mysterious break in at her home.
Five days after her arrest, Overstreet reported a break-in at her Easton apartment, to which Easton police responded. They found no sign of forced entry, according to police, but her apartment “was in disarray (dresser drawers were pulled out, couch cushions were thrown on the floor).”
As time passed the Chief ended up turning on Devine and he received a 60-day unpaid suspension in 2016 after an internal affairs investigation found that he improperly ordered an investigation into Overstreet using department resources and technology. The cadet program was disbanded in 2016 as well, the same year Sandra Birchmore graduated from SHS.
This is former Stoughton and Wellesley Police Officer Matthew Farwell.
He grew up in Stoughton and participated in Devine’s cadet program when he was in high school. He has a twin brother named Billy Farwell who joined the Stoughton Police Department 5 years after him. They were featured in a Wicked Local 2012 story.
Off duty, both Matt and Billy have volunteered countless hours with that Stoughton Police Explorers program with which they grew up. They have assisted Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine with the running of the annual academy, bringing in Army EOD equipment so the kids could try on a bomb suit, or drive one of the robots. Devine told me, “All three were in the very first Explorers class 11 years ago. It means a lot to have one of the men in our department. They grew up right before my eyes. If we played even a small part in their success, I’m proud of that.”
Farwell is featured prominently on Stoughton media websites and was promoted to detective in 2017.
Matt Farwell met Sandra Birchmore as a cadet when she was 13 and he was 25. He saw how much she looked up to cops and took advantage of that. By the time she was 15 evidence uncovered in an 18 month long investigation shows that Matt Farwell began a sexual relationship with her that included several digital messages and explicit exchanges over the course of several years. According to witnesses they had sex when she was 15, and he continued a secret relationship with her while carrying on as a devoted married father. He was the last person to see her alive, and was seen on video entering her apartment for 20 minutes. He told investigators he was there to break off the relationship and that it didn’t end well. He denied being the father of her unborn child.
Speaking with State Police after Birchmore’s death, Matthew Farwell acknowledged he had sex with her in 2020 but the sexual part of their relationship ended in October that year, according to the Globe. Farwell told investigators Birchmore said the baby was due in September 2021, and given that timeframe, he could not be the father, the newspaper reports.
The police are unable to charge Matt Farwell with statutory rape because the victim is dead and cannot give a statement. The text messages and witness statements alone do not meet the bar for probable cause.
Matt’s twin brother Billy Farwell joined the department in 2017. For some reason he also decided to pursue a sexual relationship with Sandra when she was an adult. Starting in 2020 he began to exchange explicit messages and photographs with Birchmore while on duty, in addition to having a number of “unbecoming physical encounters” with her. He also attempted to introduce Birchmore to other men, presumably to have sex with. In text messages between Billy Farwell and Sandra she alleged that she may have had sex with Devine. He also met up with her while on the job and ran her name through the CJIS reports dozens of times. She allegedly confronted him in front of his family about their relationship, and he claims he blocked her as a result. All references to sex and suicide are redacted in the official report.
Robert Devine was reportedly aware of the sexual relationships and grooming, and either said nothing or participated himself. He texted inappropriately with Birchmore when she was an adult, which he lied about to investigators. They also met up while he was on duty, and presumably had sex, based on Facebook messages between the tow of them in December of 2020. They met up for dinner at a restaurant that month, and also while he was on duty.
The internal affairs report says a past participant in the Stoughton Police Explorers Program saw “inappropriate behavior” by Devine and the Farwell twins. The witness reported “hugging, kissing and inappropriate contact in a closet” and statements to the effect of “come back and see me when you turn 18.” Chief McNamarra said William Farwell also attempted to introduce Birchmore to other men on multiple occasions. Multiple witnesses allege that Farwell began to have sex with Birchmore when she was 15.
Both of the Farwell twins have resigned in disgrace, but Devine is fighting on and threatening to sue:
In an email to the Globe, Devine, who is also an attorney, denied the allegations against him.
“I will challenge these findings in every forum available to me and anticipate legal action for multiple infractions,” Devine wrote. “At least in my case, this was a politically motivated sham against an employee who has consistently spoken out against leadership. It speaks volumes that they released any findings to the media before ever notifying me.”
In a letter to McNamara last month, Devine slammed the decision to place him on leave earlier this year as unnecessary and unfair, the Globe reports. He wrote he had no “personal relationship” with Birchmore and did not share his phone number with her, according to the newspaper.
“Should you try to defame me at the end of this,” Devine wrote to McNamara, “I am prepared to resort to every legal means at my disposal to fight you.”
Good luck with that.
If you’re doing the math at home, the last time Matt Farwell admitted to having sex with her was October 2020, and the last time Billy did was in a parking lot in January 2021. She also met up with Devine for dinner in December of 2020, and he presumably had sex with her as well. Any one of them could therefore be the father.
Many suspect that other officers had to have known that this was going on. The girl was literally being passed around the department, and Billy Farwell was actively trying to get other men to sleep with her. The report states that a 4th officer, who now works for another town’s police department, “took advantage” of her as well. Chief McNamara declined to say which department it was, but the Abington Police announced they are investigating one of their own.
— Michael Rosenfield NBC10 Boston (@MikeRNBCBoston) September 23, 2022
Neither Abington or Stoughton Police are reporting the name of that officer, but they accidentally forgot to redact his last name from the 61 page report:
Officer Joshua Heal is the only one on that department with that last name, and you’ll never guess what his role is for the APD.
He’s the school resource officer!
All of these deviants had one thing in common – they took advantage of the trust the community gave them by taking jobs within the schools in order to gain access to teenage girls. Billy Farwell and Robert Devine are still featured on the town social media pages.
The Middle School honored both Billy Farwell and Devine on Veteran’s Day in 2017.
In fairness, neither of these two has been accused of having sex with Sandra Birchmore when she was under age. They were just part of the grooming process and waited until her entire family died before they allegedly had simultaneous sexual affairs with her.
Lost in all this is that former Chief Paul Shastany resigned in protest in 2016 because Town Manager Michael Hartman wouldn’t terminate Devine. Although he initially referred to Devine as a victim, as more information came out he realized what an embarrassment Devine was and wanted him gone. Instead he was given a 60 day suspension.
“As I have indicated in our past conversations, I am not willing to take the risk of having him (Devine) return to the department into a command capacity, therefore I have entered into an agreement to return him to the department as a patrol man following a 60-day suspension,” Hartman wrote in the printed letter. The chief’s recommendation was to terminate Devine.
If Hartman had fired Devine in 2016, which was the recommendation of Devine’s boss, then Billy Farwell never could’ve pimped out Sandra Birchmore to him.
Shastany ended up finding a golden parachute by collecting his pension and then collecting a salary as the Braintree Police Chief, and later Police Chief in Bourne. The union objected to this, as it made a mockery of the pension system.
Hartman ended up not having his contract renewed in 2017, which he found out about when he returned to work and discovered that his key no longer worked. He sued the town, which settled with him for $125K. However, this is common practice for municipal governments because their insurance providers view it as a cheaper alternative than arbitrating in court.
Because of the way this scandal was handled many expressed their distrust of the police. Others opined that Matthew Farwell murderer her.
But the investigation has proven that she committed suicide.
Sandra Birchmore should be alive today, but she’s not because she was an emotional and psychological victim of these men. None of them forced her to kill herself, but they all knew that she was a vulnerable young woman and groomed her from youth. They knew how much she admired police, and they knew that they could have sex with her because of that. They knew that she had little in terms of family support and viewed her as damaged goods; an inanimate object they could use for their own sexual pleasure. When one of them likely impregnated her they all distanced themselves immediately in order to protect their own personal lives. Then, and only then did Matt Farwell decide to end things with her. She had no parents, siblings, or aunts to turn to for help. She was all alone, pregnant and 23. And she had to watch as the men who did this to her carried on their lives as well respected family men and police officers.
None of these men cared that had Sandra’s child been born he or she was much more likely to become another statistic growing up without a father. But why would they care? They didn’t give a damn about Sandra and had already gotten what they wanted out of her. If she couldn’t sexually gratify them then she was no longer useful. For Devine in particular this was a pattern of behavior, considering he also had sex with an emotionally unstable woman in 2014, who he then targeted after his wife found out about it. Just like Sandra Birchmore, Tiffany Overstreet was no longer useful to him, so he used his powers as a police officer to go after her. Now he’s threatening the new Police Chief, but luckily she isn’t backing down.