A director of Fitchburg’s only year-round homeless shelter will not be charged by local police following allegations that he assaulted homeless clients.

The Fitchburg Police Department launched its investigation after several advocates for homeless individuals spoke out during a Jan. 12 Fitchburg Human Rights Commission meeting and accused Kevin MacLean of physically and sexually assaulting Our Father’s House shelter clients.

The police department closed the case April 20, concluding “there is insufficient evidence to move forward with any charges,” according to a police report obtained by GBH News. That determination was made in consultation with an assistant district attorney, the report said.

Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest Martineau declined to comment beyond the police report.

Our Father’s House Board of Directors placed MacLean, its director of homelessness, on paid administrative leave Feb. 26, pending the outcome of its own investigation of the allegations raised by advocates. That investigation is being conducted by outside attorney Robert Hennigan Jr.

Doug Pizzi, Our Father’s House spokesperson, confirmed its investigation is on-going.

"The conclusion of the Fitchburg Police Department investigation will have no bearing on Our Father's House's inquiry,” Pizzi wrote in an email. “When it is completed, the findings will be presented to the Board. The Board will review the findings, take any action deemed necessary and notify all appropriate parties.”

A phone message left on MacLean's’ home phone requesting comment was not returned.

According to the police report, investigators found no victims of sexual assault among the more than 20 people interviewed.

"Although I have had several individuals tell me they have heard of or know of instances, none of those individuals have given me any information on actual victims," the report stated.

Police determined an allegation reported by GBH News that MacLean physically assaulted Christopher Cattel was Cattel's fault.

"It is clear that the altercation that took place was because Chris was the aggressor and Kevin acted in accordance with Our Father's House policy in how to handle a situation like that," the report stated.

Among those interviewed by police were two of the four advocates who raised allegations about MacLean — Susan Bucchholz and Tara Rivera, according to the police report. Rivera said, in an interview Wednesday, that she stands by the allegations.

“I am officially disheartened and disappointed in our system, in our leadership, in our local government,” Rivera said. “And I would really love to see the state and the federal government step in and do what our local officials cannot — justice, reform, keeping our homeless population safe and treating them the way that they deserve to be treated with humanity and respect and dignity.”

State Rep. Natalie Higgins, D-Leominster, who has advocated on behalf of the homeless to increase shelter services in the region, said she’s heard from multiple homeless individuals who said they will not speak with police about any concerns they have.

“I'm concerned that this was set up in a way to be completely inaccessible to a marginalized population of homeless residents who don't believe that their story is going to be heard or taken seriously,” Higgins said.

Higgins again called for an outside investigation into all the allegations related to Our Father’s House brought to light by GBH News. Those allegations include verbal and sexual harassment of former employees, discrimination of homeless clients and falsifying shelter documents.

Contacted by GBH News, a spokesperson for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said the office is seeking more information from Our Father’s House to determine if further action is needed.

“What’s been reported about Our Father’s House is very concerning. We are in the process of reaching out to get more information,” Healey's spokeswoman Jillian Fennimore wrote in an email.

Spokespeople for the state Department of Housing and Community Development and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have declined to comment.
In addition to its 30-bed shelter, the Our Father’s House organization runs street outreach across north central Massachusetts, transitional housing in Fitchburg for women in recovery, a sober home in Leominster for men in recovery, family transitional housing for homeless women with children, and a community food pantry available to households once monthly, according to its website.

The annual homeless count conducted by HUD found 100 homeless individuals in the region.

Higgins is among those who worked to open a temporary shelter for adults at the Leominster Days Inn. That program, which is run by South Middlesex Opportunity Council, has been extended through June.

Higgins said she is working with the state Department of Housing and Community Development, which partially funds adult homeless shelters, on a longer-term permanent plan to address the needs of the region’s homeless.