The Lynnfield fire captain who witnesses allege walked into a Rhode Island convenience in his birthday suit says the incident never happened.
“The bulk of the allegation is untrue,” said John H. Walsh. “It’s true that I got arrested, but I’m not guilty, I didn’t do anything wrong.”
The 60-year-old veteran firefighter and medic who has been on the force since 1979 was arrested a mile from the 7-Eleven in Middletown earlier this month. He was charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, and arraigned at the Second Division District Court in Newport where he pleaded not guilty.
When police responded, the store owner said Walsh entered the store without any clothes, bought a Coke while wearing only a smile, and drove away in a black Mercedes Benz, according to the police report.
The owner said she “went into shock” and dialed 911 because she thought the man might assault her.
“She was visibly shaken while I spoke to her,” the officer wrote in the four-page report. “She had tears in her eyes and said she was horrified at the sight of a naked man.”
But Walsh insists it’s not true.
“I got into an argument with a cop, but I didn’t do anything like he said I did,” Walsh said.
When Walsh was pulled over, the officer asked why he thought police stopped him.
“He told me it was probably because he went into the store to buy a Diet Coke with no clothes on,” the officer wrote in the report. “When I asked him if he was completely naked when he went into 7-Eleven, he said, yes, because he believed it was legal in Rhode Island, and his girlfriend, seated in the passenger seat, dared him to.”
But Walsh denies he said it.
“I’m a criminal defense attorney,” said Walsh, who practices in Lynnfield at Walsh & Son LLP. “Do you know how many clients I’ve counseled to never answer that question?”
It’s unclear what will happen to Walsh’s pension should he be convicted. He earned $130,818 with overtime last year.
The girlfriend was listed as Tammy McDougal, 29. Both were clothed when stopped by police.
Lynnfield Fire Chief Glenn Davis said Walsh has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. He did not know the status of Walsh’s pension and declined further comment.
A pre-trial conference is set for Friday, May 10.
Walsh’s Providence attorney did not return a call seeking comment.