Lawyer: Shelton ‘illegally’ released police report on sex assault involving firefighter, Trumbull cop

DERBY — An attorney representing a Shelton volunteer firefighter accused of sexually assaulting a woman with a Trumbull police sergeant said he plans to file a lawsuit over the release of a police report that brought the alleged abuse to light.

Shelton police on Wednesday charged 34-year-old John Scollin, a former captain of the Echo Hose Fire House, with first-degree sexual assault after he turned himself in on an arrest warrant. He was released on $150,000 bond and was arraigned Thursday in state Superior Court in Derby.

During the court appearance, Judge Peter Brown continued the case to June 30 and ordered Scollin to have no contact with the alleged victim.

On Tuesday, Matthew Perkowski, 33, a Trumbull police sergeant and volunteer member of Echo Hose, surrendered on charges of first-degree sexual assault and second-degree assault in connection with the incident.

Scollin’s attorney, Christian Young, said Thursday he served a notice of intent last August to sue the city of Shelton — about five months after the incident was made public when Hearst Connecticut Media Group obtained the police report for the September 2020 alleged assault through a a Freedom of Information Act request.

The notice says Scollin is planning to sue the city and its agents for “their violation of his state and federal constitutional and civil rights ... negligence, incompetence, recklessness, malice and tortious interference.”

It is unclear from the arrest warrants for Scollin and Perkowski why police did not arrest either man until this week.

The police report shows the case was closed after the investigating officer, Detective Richard Bango, consulted with the Derby Superior Court’s state’s attorney, who told police the case could only proceed if the victim wanted to press charges. The report noted the victim contacted Bango days after receiving a rape kit exam at the hospital and said she did not want to press charges.

Arrest warrants for Perkowski and Scollin stated that last March, the warrants said the woman called Bango “extremely upset and crying” because Scollin had told her there would be a newspaper article about the case.

On June 1, 2021, the warrant stated, Bango “met with supervisors at the Shelton Police Department and it was determined that the allegations fall within family violence laws.”

Shelton Police Chief Shawn Sequeira said Thursday the arrests were aboveboard.

“Both arrests were within the statute of limitations and reviewed by a state’s attorney and judge who both determined probable cause existed for the arrests,” Sequeira said. “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and we will respect the judicial process.”

The prosecutor who handled Scollin’s arraignment Thursday declined to comment after the hearing.

Scollin referred questions to his lawyer.

“The only factor on the table since the decision to not prosecute was the illegal release of information by Shelton, which then caused public outrage, which then gave this thing a life of its own,” Young said Thursday.

“Prior to this arrest, the underlying facts and circumstances have been thoroughly reviewed by two police departments — Shelton and Trumbull — and also thoroughly reviewed by a prosecutor’s office, all three of which found criminal prosecution to be unwarranted,” Young said in an interview.

“Subsequent to that finding, the city of Shelton chose to illegally release confidential, personal and private information generated from their investigation, and suddenly and curiously, the decision not to arrest seems to have been unilaterally reversed. Given the history of such equivocal and tortured finding of probable cause, it certainly makes one wonder how anyone could find (guilt) beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Young said the information contained in the arrest warrant was “exactly” the same information as police had almost two years ago.

“There’s no evidence of any further factual development, so all decisions seem to have been made on a purely secretive, administrative basis,” Young said.

In the intent to sue notice, the lawyer wrote that the city should not have released the report last March, and “no legitimate purpose whatsoever existed for the publication of the information.”

“Shelton, its agents and officers and affiliates, obtained a non-public uncorroborated investigative report in which Mr. Scollin was referenced and in which Mr. Scollin’s most personal private intimate life details were related and thereafter chose to publicize and cause the publication of this information and thereafter chose to then publicly vilify and ostracize and attack Mr. Scollin for the information they knew of months in advance of their decision to give the non-public file to news reporters,” the notice says. “Mr. Scollin was thereby caused great angst, distress, loss, and injury.”

On Sept. 6, 2020, police were called to Griffin Hospital to investigate an assault, Bango wrote in the warrants for Scollin and Perkowski’s arrests. At the hospital, a woman told investigators that Scollin had sexually assaulted her in a car at the Echo Hose Fire House in Shelton and threatened to choke her, the warrants stated.

The woman told investigators she and Scollin then drove to Perkowski’s Shelton home, where both men sexually assaulted her, according to the warrants. During the assault, Perkowski slapped her so hard she couldn’t hear out of one of her ears and couldn’t speak, the warrants stated.

The woman told police as she and Scollin were driving home, he grabbed her phone and deleted the “entire thread of text messages between them,” the warrants stated.

The woman later told police she didn’t want to press charges, but did agree to release her medical records to police.

“The underlying facts and circumstances certainly are very personal, very private, and very distressing to the parties involved,” Young said Thursday.

Young said the defense is not disputing the victim’s statements to Shelton and Trumbull police “that no crime was committed and that she didn’t want this matter prosecuted.”

He described the encounter between the victim, Perkowski and Scollin as “consensual” and said it was not “criminal or compulsory in nature.”

Perkowski and Scollin have been suspended as volunteer members of the Echo Hose Fire House since the start of the investigation. Scollin also resigned as captain of the department soon after his suspension.

Since his arrest, Trumbull police said Perkowski has been placed on administrative leave and his police powers have been suspended.

Staff writer Brian Gioiele contributed to this report.