Years before his trial, some in Quincy weren’t sure about the way he ran the city’s volunteer emergency program
When Mayor William Phelan took office in 2002, he soon became aware of quiet questions that some people around City Hall had about the way Anthony Siciliano was running Quincy’s Community Emergency Response program.
The new mayor caught heavy flak at the time for dismissing the popular deputy director, who’d managed the volunteer program made up almost exclusively of teenage boys for 20 years. Those lingering questions were answered Monday, when a Norfolk Superior Court jury convicted Siciliano on three counts of rape of a teenage boy he’d recruited into the program in the 1990s.
With a then-60-year-old man overseeing teenagers for vaguely-defined services, “there were obvious concerns ... in terms of who was in the building and how they were being supervised,” Phelan said, a few hours after the verdict was announced. Siciliano was acquitted on a fourth charge of indecent assault and battery of a person 14 involving a second alleged victim.
“My heart goes out to those victims,” Phelan said. “I commend them for the courage they showed in stepping forward.”
Phelan’s concerns weren’t shared by everyone. Siciliano called former mayor James Sheets and Quincy Sun publisher Henry Bosworth as character witnesses. Some councilors criticized Phelan when he removed Siciliano from the program.
Sheets could not be reached for comment after the verdict was announced Monday.
If anyone else around the city had suspicions about Siciliano’s relations with his young charges, they kept it to themselves. The rape victim, who was between 13 and 16 when the crimes occurred, didn’t come forward with his accusations until 2003.
Siciliano was a familiar figure around Quincy. He could often be seen driving his emergency-response truck, a sort of mobile promotion for the program.
According to the men’s testimony, he made his first advances at the program’s basement office at the city’s public works department. Other molesting occurred in the truck, at Siciliano’s home and other locations.
“We were friends,” the rape victim testified about Siciliano. “I looked up to him.”
Lane Lambert of The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) may be reached at email@example.com.