Perry owes fuller explanation of allegations in Congress race

Perry owes fuller explanation of allegations in Congress race

JEFFREY D. PERRY, one of four Republican candidates for the Cape Cod and South Shore congressional seat, has some explaining to do. The state representative from Sandwich has long been dogged by his shifting accounts of incidents from his service two decades ago on the Wareham police force, in which an officer he supervised was illegally strip-searching teenage girls. Now, new allegations have arisen about his conduct on the force.

According to Wareham's police chief at the time, Perry once broke a radar gun and then lied about it. The chief, Thomas A. Joyce, also testified that Perry had made a practice of purposely tripping a red light to catch motorists going through it in what the chief referred to as "the old red light game.'' Joyce made these statements in a deposition taken in connection with civil lawsuits against the town for the strip searches.

In a debate yesterday, Perry acknowledged that he had "not completely described'' to his superiors how he had crushed the radar gun under his cruiser's wheel. He sidestepped the "red light game'' charge by saying he had not been reprimanded for it, and after the debate denied having done it at all in answer to a Globe reporter's question.

Perry's remarks yesterday did not clear the air. The blemishes that Joyce described on Perry's police record - and a statement in Joyce's deposition that he once passed over Perry for a promotion because "Perry had not been 100 percent truthful to me in the past'' - bring into question whether the candidate has the integrity expected in any public servant, from a police officer to a congressman.

Perry's four terms as state representative make him one of the more qualified of the GOP candidates seeking the seat that Democrat William Delahunt is vacating. But 10th Congressional District voters deserve a more detailed explanation than they have gotten from the candidate of the black marks that his chief saw on his record as a police officer. And they deserve it now, well before the Sept. 14 primary.

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