News, Police/Fire

Naked Lynnfield fire captain ordered to do community service

LYNNFIELD — After declaring his innocence for months, a Lynnfield firefighter, who witnesses said walked into a Rhode Island convenience store naked, agreed the evidence would result in a guilty verdict if brought to trial. 

John H. Walsh was ordered by Rhode Island Associate Judge Joseph Houlihan to perform 10 hours of community service, donate $500 to charity, and pay $97 in court costs.

In April, Walsh was arrested for disorderly conduct after a 7-Eleven clerk in Middleton, R.I., alleged he entered the store without any clothes, bought a soda, and drove away in a black Mercedes Benz, according to the police report.

He pleaded not guilty and was released on $1,000 bail with a promise to return to court. A trial date was scheduled last month, but Walsh changed his plea Monday.

Walsh was arrested a mile from the store. When he 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.”

The police report said the store clerk “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 in an interview with The Item weeks later, Walsh insisted the allegations were untrue and the incident never happened.

“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.

The 60-year-old captain who served on the force since 1979, was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. He retired from the force on July 15.

Walsh’s annual retirement benefit is $54,278, according to the Essex Regional Retirement System. He earned $130,818 with overtime last year.

Walsh could not be reached for comment. His Providence attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

More Stories From Lynnfield