Archive | November, 2012

Officer Wojick denies sexual molestation charges

30 Nov

By Eye on Peabody


Officer Fred Wojick faced child molestation charges this morning n Peabody District Court . Image from WBZ-Boston, Ch. 4

Peabody Police officer Fred Wojick claimed through his attorney at an arraignment this morning that the child sexual  molestation charges against him were “salacious” and “sensationalized” Attorney Tom Drechsler also said that the charges against his client were made out of an act of “revenge.”

Wojick, 48. was arraigned this morning in Peabody District Court on six counts of indecent assault and battery against a child under 14. The Essex County District Attorney’s office says that the alleged victim, who is Wojick’s step-daughter, is now 17.  She told investigators the molestation started when she was 11, and continued until she was at least 15.

The alleged victim says that the acts involved repeated instances of inappropriate touching, and sexual references made to her and her friends. Wojick’s attorney said the allegations are false and that the step-daughter was angry because Wojick disapproved of her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the Salem News, Prosecutor Kate MacDougall said it was Wojick himself who first drew the attention of police, after he contacted a colleague earlier this month and reported that his family life was falling apart.

The Salem News said he told his colleague that he’d “joked around” and sometimes slapped the girl’s backside, but denied anything more serious.

Investigators say that the girl told them the touching incidents occurred during several instances. including while she was being tucked into bed. She also reported other instances when Wojick allegedly sat her on his lap and showed her pornography, according to the Salem News.

A 10-year veteran of the Peabody Police Department, Wojick has been suspended from duty.  He was released by the court on  personal recognizance, but has been ordered to stay away from both the alleged victim and her mother, and cannot to leave the state.

More to come as this story develops.  Here’s the video from the  story on Channel 4.

Here’s how this story was reported Channel 5

Official arrangement details announced for Joyce Spilliotis

30 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

joyceClick here for the full, official wake/funeral  details, and obituary for our friend, State Representative Joyce Spilliotis, who passed away early yesterday morning.

In lieu of flowers,  the family is asking that donations be made in Joyce’s memory to the Hard Times Partnership fund, NSCAP, 98 Main St., Peabody, MA 01960,  or to Haven from Hunger, 75 Wallis St., Peabody, MA 01960.

Free shuttle to wake for seniors

Mayor Ted Bettencourt has also arranged for free shuttle van transportation for those senior citizens wishing to attend the wake of the late Rep. Joyce Spiliotis, this Sunday, Dec. 2nd. Visiting hours are 2-to-6 p.m., at the O’Donnell Funeral Home located at 46 Washington Square in Salem.

Chris Ryder, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, told EOP that the shuttle will run continuously back and forth between the Council on Aging and the funeral home throughout the afternoon.  For more information, please contact the Mayor’s office at 978-538-5700.

Report: Peabody police officer facing charges of indecent assault on a child

30 Nov

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read an updated version of this story, including later developments by clicking here.

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

The Peabody Patch is reporting this morning that a veteran Peabody police officer is facing indecent assault charges on a child, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

The Patch wrote that “spokesperson Carrie Kimball-Monahan briefed local media outlets that officer Fred Wojick, 48, will be arraigned in Peabody District Court this morning on six counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and one count of disseminating obscene material to a minor.”

The report said that state police detectives assigned to the DA’s office arrested Wojick last night at 7 p.m.

Here are some more details from the Boston Herald.

For sure, there will be more to come on this story.

Message sent by Mayor Bettencourt on the passing of Representative Spilliotis

29 Nov

Eye on Peabody has obtained the following message Mayor Ted Bettencourt sent out to Peabody’s elected officials soon as he heard the news this morning of the passing of State Rep. Joyce Spilliotis.

From Mayor Ted Bettencourt via email message: 

“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Representative Joyce Spiliotis.   Like many of you, I have known Joyce as a friend, mentor and colleague for many years.   As a City Councilor and State Representative, Joyce was a tireless advocate for her constituents and a true champion for the City of Peabody.  Please join me in offering our deepest sympathies to Joyce’s family during this extremely difficult time. “

– Bob Croce

Services announced for Representative Spilliotis

29 Nov

Joyce Spilliotis during her days as a Peabody City Councilor

Services for State Rep. Joyce Spilliotis, who passed away early this morning, will be held on Sunday and Monday.

Joyce’s husband, Dick Jarvis, told Eye on Peabody that visiting hours will be on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2-to-6 p.m., at the O’Donnell Funeral Home, 46 Washington Square, Salem.  Prayer services will take place at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, 1 Margin Street, Peabody on Monday at 10 a.m.

We’ll publish more details as they become available, but Dick would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of sympathy and respect for Joyce. He says it has been a very difficult time for he and his family, but it’s “wonderful” to know how much Joyce’s public service meant to the citizens of Peabody.

We then smiled over the thought  of Joyce right now asking God when nomination papers will be available for her to run for a spot on Heaven’s City Council.

– Bob Croce

RIP Representative Joyce Splillotis

29 Nov

Please note: If you would like to offer a remembrance of Joyce or your condolences in the comments section below, I’m positive Dick and her family would appreciate it. You may also post anonymously, if you like. It asks for an email field, but your email is not required.)

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

The “Peoples’ Joyce

It is with deep sorrow that I announce the passing of Joyce Spilliotis-Jarvis, who served the people of Peabody so well over the years in her roles as State Representative, City Councilor, and Library Trustee.

Joyce died, at age 65,  early this morning  with her family by her side, including her husband, Dick Jarvis.

The “Peoples’ Joyce” will be greatly missed not only as an outstanding public servant, but also as a terrific wife, mother, and friend.  Information on her services can be found here.

For now, my deepest sympathies to Dick and Joyce’s entire family.

This is a very sad day for Peabody.  We have lost a legendary public servant. And, good friend.

Here are some early articles in the Peabody Patch and Salem News announcing Joyce’s passing.

Here is an article from, with reaction from some of Joyce’s State House colleagues and friends.

Here is an article from the Patch with reaction from Mayor Ted Bettencourt.

Martino takes fight for beer, wine license to ABCC

28 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

First, I’d like to encourage all of our readers to immediately go to and tell everyone that you think Frank Martino’s deli is over-rated and over-priced. My opinion is that you get better value on corned beef at the deli counter at Hannaford.

I’d also like to tell Mr. Martino to “bring it on,” since some things are just worth fighting for.

In case you’ve forgotten, Mr. Martino is the guy who first sold his full liquor license to Trader Joe’s for a whopping $205,000. Then, without shame, he came back to the Peabody Licensing Board to obtain a beer and wine license.

Now, after being rejected by the licensing board, he’s dragging the city before the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission on Dec. 5 to appeal the earlier decision, according to an article today in the Peabody Patch.

In fairness, I’d like to point out that Mr, Martino has done nothing illegal here. I mean, it’s not illegal to be a jerk, and when exactly is our city council going to look into whether the rules can be changed here to keep  some other jerk from doing this again?

But I digress!

The issue here is that, sometimes, things are just worth fighting against, and this is one of those times.

The city might very well lose, but as a taxpayer, I hope they fight to the end here, even if it means a lawsuit that could fill Martino’s pockets with more money, courtesy of us. I mean, if he gets a beer and wine license, what’s going to stop him from selling that for six figures too?

No live ‘You Make The Call’ show tonight on PAT

28 Nov

Because of a personal family issue for one of the co-hosts, the  “You Make the Call,”  TV show will not air live tonight on PAT Channel 99. PAT will be airing re-run tonight, 8-9 p.m.

Please join us again live on Dec. 12 when we ask you … to “make the call.”


Dick Jarvis and Bob Croce, co-hosts, “You Make the Call”

Update: Council moves forward mayor’s request for business liaison position

28 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Updating an earlier post, the city council last night has referred to committee a request from Mayor Ted Bettencourt to create the position of “business liaison,” which the mayor  hopes will help make the process of doing business in Peabody easier. This position would pay from $45,500 to $58,500 a year, and since it replaces a vacated position in the Community Development Department, it’s budget neutral. Referring it to a sub committee is a step in the process toward approval, and this new position isn’t expected to get much resistance from the councilors once it’s put to a vote.

The responsibility of this liaison would be to guide business people through the process of setting up and maintaining a business in Peabody when it comes to dealing with the governmental issues and red tape.

Requirements for applicants include a master’s degree in business or planning, as well as five years of experience working in local government. EOP has learned from a reliable city hall source that, contrary to some anonymous comments in some of the posts here, no current elected official is presently being considered for this new position.

EOP has also learned that the mayor’s Economic Development Council, which hasn’t met in several months, will start meeting again in December. Although the EDC as a whole hasn’t met since the spring, the mayor has been convening a smaller group of business leaders, who  have been focusing mainly on the downtown area.

It looks like economic development and expanding Peabody’s commercial tax base, in an effort to create new revenue for schools and  infrastructure, continue to be big priorities on Bettencourt’s first term agenda.

More to come …

Report: Peabody High 5th in state when it comes to violent crimes that get reported

27 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

No matter how you look at it, this isn’t good for Peabody High. Recently, Channel 4’s I-Team reported that our high school was the fifth worst in the state when it came to violent crimes committed by and against students.

Now, it might come with a caveat: It could turn out that the administration at Peabody High is more diligent than other schools when it comes to filing police reports. But still, being fifth out of 138 schools is not a good place to be. The school committee, if it hasn’t already, needs to take this report seriously, and work with the Peabody Police Department to ensure that the environment at the high school is safe for all students. The I-Team report rated Peabody fifth based on physical attacks, sexual assaults, and drugs and alcohol.

“I simply think what it does is mis-characterize what the school is,” Peabody High Principal Ed Sapienza told the I-Team. “When you look at the incidents, because we do report them, and we’re conscientious about maintaining discipline in school and things do get recorded, I think that just simply adds to the list.”

But it also doesn’t excuse the fact that there is a problem here. Hats off to Principal Sapienza and his staff, but more definitely needs to be done here. Nothing should be more important than the safety of Peabody’s students.

Let me know what you think after looking at the I-Team report.

Also, thanks to a loyal reader for tipping off EOP on this story. If you have a story you feel should be reported here, you can use the Send Us A Hot Tip link.