PITTSFIELD -- Responding to two news stories this week in The Berkshire Eagle, Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr. has "unequivocally" denied sexual assault allegations by a Pittsfield man who claims Massimiano fondled him as a youth in the 1970s.
"To the best of my recollection, I have never actually met Mr. Monahan," Massimiano said in a three-page statement Friday, referring to his accuser, James E. Monahan.
"I certainly never sexually abused him," Massimiano, 65, said of Monahan, now 46. No charges were ever filed against Massimiano.
His statement was faxed to The Eagle on Friday afternoon by Diane M. Maynes, his executive assistant.
Before Friday, Massimiano had not responded to numerous requests and messages by The Eagle seeking comment about the allegations, which Monahan levied during a Jan. 14 press conference outside of the Pittsfield police station.
Massimiano still hasn't responded to the newspaper's written requests for a meeting with editors and reporters.
Monahan reiterated his allegations against the sheriff during a live Pittsfield radio broadcast on Jan. 15. He also has told his story to the Pittsfield Police Department, which interviewed Monahan and took statements from him in 2004 and 2008. The latter interview included a video statement of Monahan's accusations.
Monahan claims Massimiano fondled him twice in the 1970s -- once in 1971 at the Pittsfield Boys' Club, and again in 1976 at a public restroom in downtown Pittsfield. Monahan has said he was 7 years old at the time of the first alleged incident. Monahan has told his story to Eagle editors and reporters on several occasions since late October, but the newspaper's editors decided against publishing the allegations until they could be investigated.
On Thursday, The Eagle ran a front-page article stating Monahan's accusations. The newspaper ran a follow-up story Friday stating that Massimiano still remained silent.
In Friday's statement, Massimiano confirmed that he spoke with Monahan by telephone last month, but he said it "was the first I ever heard of any abuse allegations."
Massimiano further noted: "I attempted to speak sympathetically with Mr. Monahan, but, contrary to The Eagle's report, I did not offer any apology. I had nothing to apologize for."
Earlier in the statement, Massimiano said: "I want, first and foremost, to state unequivocally that there is no truth whatsoever to the allegations against me as reported in the Feb. 11 edition of The Berkshire Eagle."
Monahan has not wavered from his original statements.
"I stand by my allegations 100 percent," he said Friday.
Massimiano has been sheriff since 1978, when he was appointed to the position by Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.