MANCHESTER — City officials paid $45,000 to the woman at the center of a months-long investigation into the conduct of fired city police officers Darren Murphy and Aaron Brown, according to court documents.
The city agreed to the settlement in mid-November, two months before Strafford County Attorney Tom Velardi opted not to bring charges against the two officers, who had been accused of coercing the city woman into sex. Strafford County handled the prosecution for Hillsborough County to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Amanda Rogers filed a claim against the city last year.
The settlement includes standard language that the city denies all claims by Rogers and that the agreement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing.
“(City) submits that the purpose of this agreement is to buy peace,” it reads. It does not include a gag order.
“It was the right thing to do,” City Solicitor Emily Gray Rice said about the settlement. She would not discuss the specifics or the timing of the settlement. Her office said it received no report by a claims adjuster before making the settlement.
Former Police Chief Nick Willard fired both officers last year. He fired Murphy, an undercover detective, last February. An internal investigation into Murphy led to a similar investigation regarding Brown, a street-level detective, whom Willard fired in April.
Rogers’ attorney, Olivier Sakellarios, eventually filed a claim letter with the city asserting Murphy and Brown used their status as police officers to coerce Rogers into sex.
Rogers claimed that in 2009 Brown coerced her and another woman to show him their breasts in order to secure bail and prevent him from notifying their probation officers of potential violations.
Brown then is alleged to have called Rogers frequently, showing up at her house in uniform, buying her drinks and demanding that she have sex with him.
From October 2017 to April 2018, Murphy allegedly told Rogers he could get a Hillsborough County prosecutor to drop charges against her in order to coerce sexual favors, Sakellarios wrote.
On Wednesday, Velardi said he could not disprove that the relationship between Murphy and Rogers was consensual. He said he could not bring charges in either case because he did not have enough facts to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The city self-funds much of its insurance such as health care, workers compensation and liability coverage. City Solicitor Rice said the settlement was funded from the city’s civil general liability account. She said aldermen and Mayor Joyce Craig were aware of the settlement and that the city followed state law when it comes to filing the settlement documents with the city clerk to make them available for public review.
“We don’t announce settlements. That’s not part of our process,” Rice said.
In a statement released by her office, Craig said: “The agreement concludes any civil litigation by the plaintiff, and the matter has been resolved.”