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Former Webster fire chief facing criminal charges in Massachusetts

Webster’s ex-fire chief is facing criminal charges in Massachusetts for allegedly placing a camera in the women’s bathroom at his former place of employment.

Colin Colby, who resigned his position as volunteer chief in mid-July, was arraigned Aug. 26 in Woburn District Court on six counts of illegal wiretapping, five counts of photographing an unsuspecting nude person and one count of attempt to commit a crime, a court clerk said. An investigation by the Wilmington Police Department found that Colby placed a secret camera designed to look like a pen in a women’s bathroom stall at Valley Green Incorporated, a Wilmington, Mass., business where he worked as a facilities manager.

Colby turned himself in to the Wilmington police on Aug. 26 and has cooperated with the authorities, said Wilmington police Lt. Brian Pupa. He is out on $2,000 cash bail and is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing Nov. 6, a court clerk said. Colby could not be reached for comment and his attorney, Kathleen McCarthy, did not return a request for comment.

The investigation began on July 11 when a female employee at Valley Green noticed the camera in one of the stalls and gave it to the police, Pupa said. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office assisted in the police investigation. On July 19, the two agencies executed a search warrant on Colby’s home on Battle Street in Webster. During the search, the authorities seized several computer and storage devices, Pupa said. The investigation found that the camera had captured footage on multiple occasions, Pupa said.

An employee who answered the phone yesterday at Valley Green said Colby resigned from his job more than a month ago. Webster’s selectmen accepted his resignation as volunteer fire chief July 22. That resignation letter did not include specific reasons, and when reached by phone in mid-August, Colby said he resigned for “personal reasons.”

Bruce Johnson, chairman of Webster’s board of selectmen, said in an email he did not want to comment on the charges because they did not happen in Webster and Colby was not serving in his capacity as fire chief when the alleged acts were committed.

“I will only add a reminder that the Webster fire chief position, as well as all firefighter positions, are volunteer positions, and Colin’s many years of contributions to the town remain greatly appreciated,” Johnson said.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

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