Sandra Birchmore Was Allegedly Assaulted by Three Police Officers — Then She Took Her Own Life

All three men "violated their oath of office and should never have the privilege of serving any community as a police officer."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 2 2024, Published 5:08 p.m. ET

According to The Marshall Project, in 2014 Sandra Birchmore's mother wrote a letter to the leader of their local Explorer program to thank him for the work he was doing. Birchmore had signed up for the youth program that matched kids with local police in 2010 when she was 13 years old. Four years later, she was a different person, but not for the reasons her mother might be thinking.

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On Feb. 4, 2021 Birchmore's body was found in her Canton, Mass. apartment. The cause of death was apparent suicide. It would later be revealed that Birchmore had been victimized by three police officers who were part of the Explorer program. At the time of her death she was also pregnant and it's believed that one of the officers was the father. What happened to Sandra Birchmore? Here's what we know.

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What happened to Sandra Birchmore? She was groomed since the age of 13.

A wrongful death lawsuit against one of the officers, Matthew Farwell, was filed by Birchmore's estate in December 2022. Farwell visited Birchmore the night she died in order to end their years-long relationship, if one can even call it that as he was in his mid-20s when he began sexually assaulting Birchmore. Many believe this was the catalyst for her decision to take her own life as Farwell was also thought to be the father of her unborn child.

When Birchmore joined the Explorer's program, she was already suffering from mental health issues and was seeing a therapist. It was described as a "junior police academy for young persons between the ages of 13 and 18." The program was a branch of the Boy Scouts of America and had locations all over the country. This one was in Stoughton, Mass. at a department that was historically besieged by scandals and controversy. What happened to Birchmore was sadly just the tip of the iceberg.

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Farwell's relationship with Birchmore began in April 2013 when he "took her virginity," per the court documents. His twin brother, William Farwell, was also a police officer and he later began engaging in sexual activity with Birchmore "no later than April 2020." This involved sending sexually explicit texts and encouraging Birchmore to have sex with other police officers.

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The police officer to whom Birchmore's mother sent her glowing letter was a man by the name of Robert Devine. When he first met 13 year-old Birchmore, Devine was in his late 30s. He too entered into a sexual relationship with Birchmore though it didn't begin until she was in her early 20s. He denied doing so but law enforcement found "Facebook messages showing that while on duty he discussed meeting Birchmore for sex," reported The Marshall Project.

Where are Matthew Farwell, William Farwell, and Robert Devine now?

Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamara, the first woman to hold that position, launched an internal investigation the day after Birchmore's body was discovered. A year later McNamara held a news conference where she shared her findings. "All three men, the Farwells and Devine, violated their oath of office and should never have the privilege of serving any community as a police officer," said McNamara. She went on to say they cultivated a web of deceit and treachery, and "violated the policies and the core values of the Stoughton Police Department."

All three officers resigned. Matthew Farwell turned in his resignation on April 1, 2022, per the Fall River Reporter. In October of that year, the Stoughton Police Department's application for his recertification was denied by the Commission. William and Devine are trying to keep their certification though McNamara's investigation uncovered Devine's "inappropriate contact with a female student" while part of a middle school program in the early 2000s.

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