The Lynnfield firefighter who police say walked into a convenience store naked last month is quietly negotiating a deal to retire, the Item has learned.
John H. Walsh faces a charge of disorderly conduct after a clerk at a 7-Eleven in Middleton, R.I., alleged he approached the register with his genitals exposed and bought a Coca Cola.
Walsh, who has been on the force since 1979, was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Lynnfield Fire Chief Glen Davis and Town Administrator Robert Dolan declined to comment.
But multiple sources confirmed the 60-year-old captain is considering an agreement that would allow him to retire with full benefits. It’s unclear how much his pension is worth. He earned $130,818 with overtime last year. Charles Kostro, executive director of the Essex Regional Retirement System, said since Walsh is not a retiree, he doesn’t know what his monthly retirement benefit would be.
Walsh did not respond to a request for comment.
When police responded to the 911 call in April, the store owner said Walsh entered the store without any clothes, bought a soda and drove away in a black Mercedes Benz, according to the police report.
The owner said she “went into shock” and called police 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.
In an interview with the Item last month, Walsh denied the incident happened.
“The bulk of the allegation is untrue,” he said. “It’s true that I got arrested, but I’m not guilty, I didn’t do anything wrong.”
The convenience store’s surveillance system was not working the day the alleged offense happened, police said.
He was arrested a mile from the store and arraigned at the Second Division District Court in Newport where he pleaded not guilty. A pre-trial conference is set for Friday, June 21.
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?”