An Oak Bluffs contractor and former town official who assaulted the administrator to the Oak Bluffs conservation commission in March while she was performing a site walk, was placed on probation for three years in Edgartown district court on Friday.
Kevin Cusack, 47, of Oak Bluffs, admitted to sufficient facts in the case, which was continued without a finding for three years. He was also ordered to stay away from the victim and to undergo anger management counseling. And while he will serve no time in jail for the offense, in the courtroom on Friday Mr. Cusack found himself on the receiving end of stern remarks from the presiding judge, the Hon. John M. Julian.
“It is very disturbing the assault was on a town employee, especially in a place like this where you can’t always find talented people to fill these positions. We, as public servants, do the job not because we want to do it, not because it’s lucrative . . . we want to serve the public,” Judge Julian said.
According to court records, Mr. Cusack pushed Elizabeth Durkee to the ground and struck her in the face with a closed fist on March 14.
Mrs. Durkee at the time was performing a scheduled site walk at a home owned by Mr. Cusack on Barnes Road. The site walk was required before the conservation commission could issue a certificate of compliance.
Mr. Cusack is a former member of the Oak Bluffs conservation commission, where he served for 10 years.
On Friday two counts of assault and battery against a town employee were reduced to one count of simple assault as part of a plea agreement. Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard urged the judge to consider Mrs. Durkee’s status as a town employee when considering sentencing.
“This is an opportunity to send a message that this won’t be tolerated . . . I appreciate this is a simple assault, but the fact that [Mrs. Durkee] was attacked in her capacity as a town employee is alarming,” Ms. Marshard said.
Edgartown defense attorney Charles Morano said Mr. Cusack took full responsibility for the incident and was sorry for his actions. Following the incident, Mr. Cusack spent three days in the Cape Cod Hospital where he was treated for depression, and has had regular counseling ever since, Mr. Morano said.
“He was under a lot of stress at the time . . . but he acknowledges he acted poorly,” Mr. Morano said.
Kerry Scott, chairman of the Oak Bluffs selectmen, attended Friday’s hearing but did not address the court. Ms. Scott said yesterday she was prepared to make a statement if called upon, but said Ms. Marshard did a good job conveying the town’s concerns to the court.
Ms. Scott said she was pleased Judge Julian addressed the need to protect municipal employees.
“These people serve the people and strive to better their community . . . they should expect and they deserve a safe environment. I think [Judge Julian] made it very clear this sort of behavior is unacceptable,” she said.
In addition to the three years of probation, anger management directive and stay-away order, Judge Julian ordered Mr. Cusack to pay a monthly probation fee to the court.
Following the sentencing, Mr. Cusack addressed the court and apologized to Mrs. Durkee, who prior to sentencing had read a victim statement.
“I am terribly ashamed,” he said.