Over a year after the abuses inflicted by William Sheehan came to light, a new committee in Foxboro has been approved to make sure similar cases do not fall though the cracks.
Approved recently by the selectmen, the Foxboro Child Safety Committee will come up with a code of conduct and training for local organizations and a protocol of reporting for the community to follow.
The effort has been spearheaded by Selectman Jim DeVellis who has taken the lead on the issue of child abuse and neglect.
“This is probably one of the more important things I’ve been trying to accomplish on the board since I’ve been here,” DeVellis said.
The committee will include members of all different groups in town including public schools, recreation, public safety, religious institutions, town staff, residents, and private educational institutions.
The inclusion of multiple parts of the community was due to Sheehan’s involvement around town including as a teacher, athletics coach, and as a recreation director.
“There’s allegations of child molestations though the different sectors of town he was involved in. The one question that came from the victims is how did this go long and no one said anything and how did this go on and it didn’t come into the light,” DeVellis said.
Interest is high in the committee as evident by a recent seminar where DeVellis, Superintendent Debra Spinelli, Police Chief Ed O’Leary, and former selectman Lynda Walsh all attended with minimal organizing or planning.
“It wasn’t something that was coordinated but we were the only town that was well represented,” DeVellis said.
By Dec. 31, 2014, the committee will present a report to the selectmen with their goals and objectives to be approved as a warrant article as a future town meeting.
Any policy that exists such as mandated reporters and any policy from the state will remain in place.
Currently, no town in Massachusetts has a policy that Foxboro is trying to create, making the future work of the committee possibly the first of it’s kind for a local town in the state.
“If we get though this year and come up with this program, I think it’s something that other towns would be willing to listen to,” DeVellis said.