Court records allege that HPD Capt. Manuel Reyes groped and kissed a junior officer without her consent and made repeated, unwanted sexual advances to her over the period of several years.
By Dusty Christensen
HOLYOKE — One of the Holyoke Police Department’s top officers has been suspended amid allegations that he sexually assaulted and harassed a subordinate.
In a departmental communication obtained by The Shoestring, Holyoke Police Chief David Pratt announced Tuesday that Capt. Manuel Reyes has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Pratt’s interdepartment message contained no details about why Reyes was suspended. However, court records show that the same day, a Holyoke District Court judge approved a harassment prevention order against Reyes based on testimony from a junior officer in the department. In those documents, obtained by The Shoestring, that officer alleged that Reyes groped and kissed her without her consent and made repeated, unwanted sexual advances to her over the period of several years.
The Shoestring does not identify victims or alleged victims of sexual harassment or assault.
Reached by telephone Wednesday morning, Reyes declined to comment on the allegations against him, saying that department policy bars him from speaking to the media. The alleged victim did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday morning.
In a statement, a Holyoke police spokesperson, Capt. Matthew Moriarty, said that the department has been “made aware of an event involving Captain Reyes” and that an investigation is underway.
“This is a personnel matter that will receive rigorous, impartial scrutiny that respects the rights of all concerned,” Mayor Josh Garcia said in a statement. “I have faith in this process, and I believe it will yield a fair, unambiguous conclusion.”
Reyes has served for many years as the officer overseeing internal investigations of misconduct inside the department.
In a statement included with the harassment prevention order, the subordinate officer alleged that Reyes touched and kissed her without her consent many times, and made inappropriate sexual comments and advances to her. That alleged misconduct happened both inside the police department and elsewhere, according to the statement. The woman said that as a superior officer, she found Reyes to be intimidating.
“Captain Reyes was a Lieutenant, my boss,” the statement says. “To me he held power over me.”
Reyes is one of four captains in the Holyoke Police Department — the second-highest position in the department. He was the member of the HPD who served on Mayor Joshua Garcia’s transition team after he was elected in 2021 and was promoted to captain in 2022. That year, he pulled in $168,863 in total pay, according to city payroll records.
In her statement, the police officer alleged that she felt like Reyes could fire her if she didn’t do what he said. Eventually, she wrote that she started ignoring Reyes and giving him “cold responses,” at which point she alleged that he became increasingly insulting toward her and even showed up at her home to ask about her.
“He has called me and stated many times that I’m going to be out of a job and I was just a body taking up space,” she alleged in her statement before adding: “I do not ever want to be alone with Captain Reyes.”
Also contained in the documents accompanying the harassment prevention order were two statements from fellow HPD employees who said the alleged victim had previously shared some of the same details of Reyes’ alleged misconduct with them.
A hearing on the harassment prevention order against Reyes is set for April 11. However, an employee in the Holyoke District Court clerk’s office said Tuesday that hearing will be moved to another, yet undetermined court.
This is a breaking news story and may be updated.
Dusty Christensen is an independent investigative reporter based in western Massachusetts. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @dustyc123.
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