There is no penalty for lying to the Massachusetts legislature, and that should change.
Six weeks ago, Olga Roche the embattled head of the Department of Children and Families told legislators that “no more children were missing” when asked by David Linsky the Chair of the House Oversight Committee. We found out in this morning’s Boston Herald that this was a lie.
The boy, who turned 15 Tuesday, was reported missing from the Cape START program in Falmouth on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m., according to Falmouth police Lt. Sean Doyle.
As of last night, Falmouth police said the teen still was missing. The Herald is not naming the boy because he may be in danger.
Roche repeatedly promised lawmakers at a Jan. 23 hearing – 10 days after a contractor for the Department of Children and Families filed a missing person’s report on the missing teen – that no children in the agency’s care were unaccounted for.
Unlike the US Congress, Beacon Hill routinely does not swear witnesses in. This means there are no consequences if witnesses, like Roche, do not tell the truth. You can’t accuse someone of perjury if they have not been sworn in.
more after the jump
Massachusetts General Law actually allows for the swearing in of witnesses before committees. Nothing would need to be changed in law for this to happen. MGL Chapter 3 Section 27 is the law which allows this.
Section 27. Senators and representatives, acting as members of a committee of the general court, may administer oaths to persons examined before such committee.
The way this law is written, it doesn’t even need to be the chair of a committee. Seemingly any member of a committee may administer the oath.
Until Deval Patrick’s administration officials are looking at charges of perjury, can we really expect them to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? So help them Gaia?