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September 5, 2013

Sideris loses bid to regain job as officer

PEABODY — George Sideris won’t be getting his job back.

The former Peabody police officer, who confessed to beating his elderly mother into unconsciousness on Thanksgiving Day 2004, was denied an appeal asking the state Civil Service Commission for reinstatement.

Sideris, 43, was never actually convicted of assaulting his mother, despite confessing that he was responsible. Melpomeni Sideris regained consciousness but remained impaired and was confined to a nursing home until her death in 2007. Sideris also admitted to abusing his mother during the months leading up to the final incident.

Nevertheless, because of questions regarding his sanity and, thus, his ability to stand trial, the case against him was dismissed in August 2012. The lack of a conviction prompted Sideris to ask to have his job back last March, citing an earlier commission decision to dismiss an appeal of his firing “without prejudice pending conclusion of the criminal matter.”

At the time, the commission wrote, “In the event that the appellant is successful in those criminal matters, the Commission will accept and allow a motion for reconsideration.”

But the commission does not view the dismissal of the charges against Sideris as “successful.” It was due, members observed, “to Mr. Sideris’ lengthy, involuntary commitment due to delusional disorder. ... This is not the type of ‘success’ that the Commission envisioned.” Additionally, it was noted, his confinement for mental illness raises questions on whether he could be legally allowed to carry a gun.

“Carrying a firearm is an integral part of a police officer’s job, and Mr. Sideris has not shown how he would be able to perform this essential duty,” the commission ruled. They also faulted him for not filing this appeal in a timely manner.

City officials applauded the decision.

“The allegations were very disturbing,” said Mayor Ted Bettencourt, adding that he followed the case closely. “I talked to our legal team about fighting this every step of the way. I told them, ‘Under no condition are we going to allow this without a fight.’”

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