William Tibbetts, a former pro hockey player who ran for selectman in Scituate, is charged with harassing the town’s police chief through Facebook videos.
HINGHAM − A former professional hockey player who ran for selectman in Scituate has been arraigned on charges he harassed the Scituate police chief and the chief’s sister.
William Tibbetts, 44, said at his arraignment in Hingham District Court on Wednesday that the charges against him are “fake” and he is the one being harassed, dating back to the investigation that led to his statutory rape conviction in 1992.
“I have done nothing wrong,” he said.
Tibbetts is charged with harassing Scituate Police Chief Michael Stewart through videos on Tibbetts’ public Facebook page.
“He repeatedly refers to the chief as the devil,” Plymouth Assistant District Attorney David Cutshall told the court. “The defendant fabricated stories about the chief on a daily basis.”
In the videos, Tibbetts also accused the chief of breaking into his house and illegal drug use, Cutshall said.
During a brief recess, District Court Judge John Stapleton went to his chambers to watch one of the the videos, and ruled that he would not exclude it from the proceedings as requested by the defense.
“It’s entertainment,” Tibbetts said of the videos.
Cutshall also said Tibbetts told one of the chief’s children that the chief would kill himself.
Tibbetts frequently spoke out during the hourlong arraignment, leading the judge to warn Tibbetts that he could sentence him to up to 90 days in jail for contempt of court if he continued his outbursts from the prisoners’ dock.
The other harassment charge stems from several encounters between Tibbetts and Stewart’s sister Kathleen McCarthy, a teacher at Scituate High School. Cutshall said in these incidents, Tibbetts stared at McCarthy and commented about her body.
“She lives in fear of the defendant,” Cutshall said.
Defense attorney Craig MacLellan said the encounters between Tibbetts and McCarthy took place over the course of a year and appear to be “an aggressive attempt to dredge up charges.”
State Police investigated the harassment charges.
In addition to the two criminal harassment charges, Tibbetts is also charged with witness intimidation for comments he allegedly made to Scituate police officers during a traffic stop of his brother.
Cutshall asked Stapleton to revoke Tibbetts’ bail on a pending drunken driving charge out of South Boston District Court and asked for bail of $7,500 cash on the harassment charges and $5,000 on the witness intimidation charge.
MacLellan argued for a lower, cash bail, saying Tibbetts has a small contracting company and limited resources. He noted the charges did not involve acts of violence.
“He didn’t significantly endanger the community or any individuals,” MacLellan said. “It’s a significant penalty to revoke his bail.”
Tibbetts asked for his release.
“I’ve got to get home to my dogs and my family,” Tibbetts said. Tibbetts takes care of his elderly parents, his lawyer said.
Stapleton set bail on the harassment charges at $2,000 cash and imposed a series of conditions on Tibbetts, including that he stay away from and have no contact with Stewart and McCarthy or their families, not post anything on the internet involving any of the parties in the case, and have a mental health assessment. He is due to return to court Aug. 14.
“I think the facts of the case would concern anyone,” the judge said.
He also granted protective orders to Stewart and McCarthy that require Tibbetts to remain at least 150 feet away from them at all times.
Stewart declined to comment after leaving the courtroom.
Tibbetts ran for selectman in the May town election. He played 82 games in the National Hockey League for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers. He also played in hockey’s minor leagues and for European professional teams. He retired as a professional player in 2012.