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Town official lodges harassment charges against Taylor

August 9, 2013

Two town officials – one an appointed town employee and another a prominent elected official – appeared in court this week after one of those officials claimed the other was regularly and repeatedly harassing him.

Drew Hand, Assistant Superintendent of Parks and Highways for the town of Walpole, filed harassment charges against RTM and Sewer and Water Commissioner James P. Taylor last week, seeking a restraining order that would keep Taylor away from Hand’s residence, keep Taylor from his workplace at the DPW headquarters on Washington Street, and would prevent Taylor from having contacting with him.

Taylor appeared in court on the charges on Wednesday. Taylor agreed to stay away from Hand from now on.

Town officials apparently discussed the matter earlier in the week with Taylor’s attorney in hopes of reaching an agreement outside of court. No resolution was reached during that discussion.

Hand filed the request for a restraining order on July 31.

A copy of Hand’s complaint that was obtained by 180 details a string of alleged incidents dating back to 2012, in which Taylor supposedly harassed Hand in various ways and at different times.

Hand indicated in the complaint that he reported each incident to Town Administrator Michael Boynton, and that Taylor repeatedly apologized, yet continued the behavior.

In the interest of protecting Taylor’s privacy, and moving on from the incidents in question, 180 has chosen not to include details of the incidents in this article.

Hand declined to comment on the record to 180.

“I’m going to politely decline [to discuss the issue],” Hand wrote in an emailed statement to 180 on Wednesday, after attempts by a reporter to contact him both by phone and by email.

“Please respect my privacy. I am neither an appointed or elected town official, I am just a private citizen and an employee for the town,” Hand wrote in the statement.

Taylor, too, declined to comment extensively on the issue on-the-record beyond saying that the charges were false.

“It’s all a lie,” Taylor said. Yet Taylor seemed to be satisfied with staying away from Hand from now on. But he said he wants to file a suit against Hand to get back $750 in legal fees, which Taylor paid to his attorney Gerry Blair.

Blair is also a Walpole RTM. Blair could not be reached for this story by press time.

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