PAYING ATTENTION WITH TOM DUGGAN
By: Tom Duggan – December, 2011
Last month, The Valley Patriot received several calls from North Andover residents saying that they had seen former high school wrestling coach Dave Castricone coming and going from School Committee Chair Chris Allen’s Belmont St. home. Others called to report that the Allens had hired Castricone Construction to do repair work on their roof
Castricone is awaiting trial on child porn charges and was video-taped coming and going from the girls locker room at North Andover High School.
It wasn’t long before Valley Patriot volunteer news spotters in town began emailing in photos of Castricone’s crew doing work on the Allen’s home.
The story was posted on The Valley Patriot’s Facebook pages along with the photos sent to us by readers. This touched off a debate about Mr. Castricone’s presumption of innocence (he has not yet been convicted of anything) as well as criticism of the Allens for bad judgment, given the seriousness of the allegations and her role on the school committee when the incidents occurred.
But the firestorm that ensued was nothing anyone could have predicted. Allen’s husband appeared at the next Board of Selectman meeting taking time away from important town business to complain about the coverage the story had received. He also accused Selectman Tracy Watson of “orchestrating” a news story for “political reasons”.
At first he cast his accusations against “members of the board” but Watson pushed him to name names leading to him pointing the finger at her and Selectmen Rosemary Smedile.
“They dispatched photographers to my home, my home,” Larry Allen said incensed, knowing nothing of how the Valley Patriot obtained the news story or where we had obtained the photos.
Larry Allen, then detailed the amount of pain the story had caused his family and painted themselves as victims of a political conspiracy.
And while he took responsibility for hiring Castricone saying he had called four other contractors to fix a leaky roof and that Mr. Castricone was the only had contractor available, he also continually denied that anyone should take objection to his actions.
He also but put forth his belief that the media story was really nothing more than “local man hires local contractor”.
Tom Duggan also talked about this issue on his radio program Paying Attention! on 980AM WCAP in Lowell