North Adams Transcript
ADAMS -- In the wake of a child pornography charge that has shaken the Police Department and this small town, Officer Alan Vigiard has resigned and a former officer, Thomas Cook, has been hired to replace him.
The 45-year-old Vigiard’s resignation came to light during Wednesday’s Selectmen’s meeting, when Town Administrator Jonathan Butler asked the board to appoint Cook to the department because of "a resignation." Butler later confirmed it was Vigiard who had resigned and said Thursday that the official reason was "to pursue retirement."
Butler said the board simply approved the resignation -- retirement issues would have to be dealt with by the local retirement board. Adams has a five-person retirement board that operates independently of the town’s municipal government.
Vigiard, a veteran police officer, had been placed on paid administrative leave after he pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Oct. 30 to one charge of child pornography. He had allegedly downloaded and viewed sexually explicit photos in the department’s evidence room of males and females "clearly under the age of 18."
He is next scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 21 for pre-trial conference. Neither Butler nor a spokesman for District Attorney David Capeless’ office would comment on whether Vigiard is attempting a plea bargain in the case.
According to state law, municipal employees convicted of criminal offenses involving the violation of laws applicable to their office or position are not entitled to a retirement allowance. However, they may be entitled to the return of their contributions to the retirement system, with no interest.
Patrolman Cook was laid off from the department earlier this year due to budget cuts and because other officers had seniority. Because of the new opening on the force, the Selectmen were able to approve his rehiring at no additional cost to the town. The vote was unanimous.
Butler said Cook has been working as a temporary officer.
"We were sad to let him go back when we had layoffs in July," Butler said. "This gets his career back on track, and we’re glad to have him back in Adams as a full-time police officer."