Ex-Salem official to spend two days in county jail
Patrick McDougall, 38, walked out of 10th Circuit Court in Salem on Tuesday, saying he was a changed man in the wake of being convicted on a misdemeanor charge of obstructing government administration. He will report to jail on Jan. 23.
"I am really sorry for any harsh wrongdoing to public safety officials," McDougall said. "I have tremendous respect for them. They are there for all of us."
McDougall said the shootings in Newtown, Conn., gave him a greater appreciation for the role of first-responders. Late last month, he gave up his seats on the budget committee and zoning board of adjustment, saying he would focus attention on his family.
EMTs responded to a 911 call from McDougall's home on the night of June 26.
McDougall's wife, Jane, requested an ambulance, saying she was suffering from a migraine headache. She made a second 911 call for an ambulance as her husband argued with EMTs who responded to the scene, claiming they were only out to bilk him out of $800 for an ambulance ride. His confrontation that night was followed by an alleged run-in with a Salem police officer serving a subpoena and a heated confrontation with Salem Fire Chief Kevin Breen.
McDougall was charged with felony witness tampering in those cases.
Prosecutor Jason Grosky suggested on Tuesday he would be open to discussing a resolution to the felony charges instead of bounding them over to superior court where a grand jury could consider indictments. A status hearing on the felony charges is scheduled for Tuesday.
Grosky argued that McDougall should spend 21 days in jail as part of a largely suspended six-month sentence, along with anger management counseling.
Judge Michael Sullivan sentenced McDougall to a month in county jail but suspended all but 48 hours of the sentence. McDougall must also perform 50 hours of community service. Sullivan recommended that McDougall volunteer in either a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
Defense lawyer Neil Reardon said he was disappointed with the sentence, hoping his client would serve no jail time.
McDougall was convicted last month of preventing emergency medical technicians from carrying out their official duties, but Sullivan focused his comments during the hearing on his behavior as a husband.
"You basically blew her off," Sullivan said. "The testimony was she was in obvious pain. She was trying to cover her eyes and had an icepack on her head. . She was in agony that evening and the one person she should have been able to depend upon was you."
Jane McDougall asked Sullivan to impose no jail time for her husband, saying it would have an emotionally devastating impact on their 7-year-old son. McDougall's mother, Carol, told Sullivan she was worried that her son has been portrayed as a bully, not as the compassionate, civic-minded person she knows.
"He is the first one to step up and help anybody who needs help," Carol McDougall said.
Carol McDougall said her grandson is now afraid of his father being taken away after seeing him being led away in handcuffs following a recent arrest. Those comments prompted Patrick McDougall to break down and sob.
If McDougall meets all the requirements of his sentence, he will avoid any further jail time and remain on probation for a year. He will be required to undergo an anger management evaluation and pay for any treatment if it's recommended.
McDougall has been barred from stepping on any fire department property or having any contact with Fire Chief Kevin Breen.