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Fall River official goes to prison; former agent Nicholas Hoar in Ohio

FALL RIVER – Convicted former Fall River police officer Nicholas Hoar surrendered to the Bureau of Prisons Wednesday and was assigned to the Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Ohio to serve a 33-month prison sentence for assaulting a man in detention and lying on police reports about the incident.

Hoar’s incarceration means a fourth Fall River official will be sentenced to prison for workplace misconduct, and the third currently in prison.

Jasiel Correia II, 32, remains in a federal prison in Kentucky following his 2021 conviction for defrauding investors in his startup SnoOwl and taking bribes from marijuana entrepreneurs while serving as the youngest mayor of the city.

He was sentenced to six years in prison and is currently petitioning the court for early release; Federal prosecutors have objected to the request. A federal judge has yet to schedule a hearing or rule.

Two other city officials received prison sentences

A 20-year veteran of the Fall River Police Department, former Patrol Officer Michael Pessoa, is currently incarcerated at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Norfolk. He is serving concurrent sentences in three cases of excessive force against three separate people dating back to 2014.

A Bristol County Superior Court judge sentenced Pessoa to one and a half years and no more than three years in state prison.

He was convicted last May in Bristol County Superior Court of attacking David Lafrance while in handcuffs and lying about it in police reports.

The attack was captured on a video surveillance camera.

He later pleaded guilty to two more attacks on men in custody and lied about them in police reports.

Former city police officer Bryan Custadio was released from that facility Thursday after pleading guilty to three domestic counts involving two separate domestic partners, according to the Bristol House of Correction.

Dates to know: Misconduct and inappropriate use of force by Fall River police

In one case, Custadio was accused of assaulting a family member in their home while the former city police officer was on duty, in uniform, and driving a marked police car in November 2021.

In December, a judge ordered him to be sentenced to 14 months in the House of Correction, but imposed a stay without finding for 2.5 years. That means if he completes his sentence and probation, the charges will be dismissed.

One of Custadio’s victims, ex-wife Brenna Custadio, filed a lawsuit against the city last November, claiming his former police colleagues tried to cover up incidents of domestic violence against her. The case is pending and the parties will appear again in Superior Court on June 25.

What type of prison is FCI Elkton?

According to the prison’s website, FCI Elkton is considered a low-security, all-male federal correctional institution, with an adjacent low-security satellite prison in Lisbon, Ohio. The main prison holds 1,581 people and the satellite facility holds 310 inmates.

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs recommended that Hoar, who has two small children, be housed closer to his home in Massachusetts.

FCI Elkton is more than 600 miles from Fall River.

Hoar is a fifth-generation Fall River police officer.

His father, retired sergeant. Michael Hoar was a member of the FRPD for 32 years, including his assignment to internal affairs. After his retirement, he worked for six months as Correia’s chief of staff.

Hoar’s brother, JT Hoar, was recently promoted to one of the department’s two deputy chiefs.

Hoar, 37, was convicted by a federal jury in February of one count of deprivation of rights under the color of law and two counts of false reporting.

In addition to the 33-month prison sentence, he was ordered to serve a year of supervised probation upon his release.

Unlike the other investigations involving convicted city officials, Hoar’s investigation was taken over from the FRPD by the FBI.

Hoar was on duty in the police booking room in December 2020 when he struck William Harvey in the head with an expandable steel baton while Harvey was handcuffed and placed in a cell.

In two police reports filed by Hoar, he lied and said Harvey had been injured in a fall.

An internal investigation is still in progress

Three other officers were on duty in the booking room that evening when Hoar struck Harvey. They also allegedly wrote false police reports about the attack.

Fall River Police Sgt. Jeffrey Maher, now retired, testified for prosecutors at trial that a week after writing a false story about the incident, he told the internal affairs department what happened.

The federal government’s key witness, Maher, testified that he saw Hoar hit Harvey in the head with the baton.

The two other police officers, Brendan McNerney and Zachary Vorce, were subjects of testimony at Hoar’s trial but did not testify.

According to information presented in court, the two officers also failed to mention the assault in their police reports.

Neither McNerney nor Vorce were implicated by the FBI in any wrongdoing in the Hoar case.

Under Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission regulations, the department must still complete an internal investigation despite the FBI’s investigation.

Police have hired the independent firm Comprehensive Investigations and Consulting of Quincy to conduct the investigation.

According to police spokesman Sgt. Detective Moses Pereira, the investigation “remains an active investigation at this time.”

A multi-million dollar lawsuit is pending over Hoar-related shooting death

Hoar is one of the key players in a $34 million lawsuit filed by the family of a man he shot and killed while on duty seven years ago, shortly after joining the FRPD.

Hoar fatally shot 19-year-old Larry Ruiz-Barreto of New Bedford at the Fall River Industrial Park in 2017 after he was allegedly called to finish a drag race.

The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office determined in a 2018 report that Hoar was justified and cleared of any wrongdoing.

Hoar fired six shots at Ruiz-Barreto, hitting him five times, around midnight on November 12, 2017. Ruiz-Barreto was sitting in his 1997 Acura in the Industrial Park at Airport and Riggenbach roads, a popular spot that is known for drag racing.

Ruiz-Barreto’s family filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court in November 2020 against Hoar, numerous police officers and the city.

Attorneys in the case agreed to wait to hear the case until after Hoar’s criminal case was pending. According to federal court records, the case is moving again, with plaintiff’s attorneys filing a third amended complaint after receiving additional discovery from the city.

Several more officers are added to the lawsuit, including Fall River Police Chief Paul Gauvin, who was a captain at the time.

Former Mayor Sam Sutter, an attorney, has joined the plaintiff’s legal team.

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