SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 27, 2012

Danvers selectman faces assault charge

BY ETHAN FORMAN STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — DANVERS — Selectman Keith Lucy will be summonsed to court on a charge of assault, stemming from an altercation at Town Hall with Town Meeting member John Fratus on the night of the state primary on Sept. 6.

First Assistant Clerk Magistrate David Sweeney said yesterday he has found probable cause to issue the complaint, following a hearing at Salem District Court on Oct. 15.

When a misdemeanor occurs outside the purview of a police officer, a civilian can come to the clerk magistrate’s office and swear out a complaint, Sweeney said. Both parties are then notified, and a hearing is held. If the clerk finds there is probable cause, a complaint is issued and the defendant is summonsed.

Sweeney said he did not have a date for Lucy’s arraignment on the assault charge, which involves “just placing someone in fear.”

Details in the complaint were not available because it has not yet been typed up and signed, and the Oct. 15 hearing was closed to the public.

Reached yesterday, Lucy declined comment on the advice of his attorney.

Messages left for Fratus’ attorney, John Slattery of Peabody, at his office and on his cell phone were not returned.

A woman who answered the phone at the Fratus household said, “We were advised by our lawyer not to talk with anybody.”

Fratus filed the complaint against Lucy following the argument on Sept. 6. Fratus and Lucy both appeared at the hearing, as did two witnesses: Julie Curtis and Fratus’ wife, Frances, both of Danvers. Slattery, who represented Fratus at the hearing, was an unsuccessful candidate for state Senate in the Sept. 6 primary.

At Fratus’ request, Town Manager Wayne Marquis has met with Fratus and his wife. “He expressed his concern and we left it at that,” said Marquis, who was at Town Hall the night of the primary, but had no knowledge of anything happening.

“I didn’t see or hear anything involving Mr. Lucy and Mr. Fratus,” said Marquis.

Bill Clark, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, has spoken with both parties involved, but said, “It’s nothing to do with me as a selectman. It’s their deal.”

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.