Prosecutor confronted by ex-trooper’s father as son surrenders for jail term

  • CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY

  • JENNIFER SUHL, prosecutor

@mjmajchrowicz
Published: 8/17/2016 12:54:12 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Family members of the ex-state trooper convicted of sexually assaulting a woman he met online had harsh words for a prosecutor after the man surrendered to Hampshire court officials to begin serving his half-year jail sentence earlier this week.

Christopher Kennedy’s family members paced in the hallway outside the Northampton courtroom Monday morning while court officers and Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl stood quietly, all waiting for Kennedy to appear.

Kennedy arrived and hugged family members before walking toward the probation office where he would surrender himself.

Apparently distraught after telling his son goodbye, the trooper’s father, retired Springfield Police Department Lt. Thomas Kennedy, eyed the prosecutor as he walked by her. The retired law enforcement officer currently works part-time as an investigator for the Hampden County district attorney’s office.

“You really had to show up, didn’t you,” he said to the prosecutor, his voice rising in the hallway of Hampshire Superior Court.

Suhl stood, silent, while the elder Kennedy strode by and directed profanities at the prosecutor. Then he came back.

“You heard every word I said,” he told Suhl, who remained silent. “We can take this outside if you want. I’m happy to continue the conversation.”

The prosecutor didn’t react.

Then two more women, relatives of Christopher Kennedy who were present through the trial, followed behind the father and walked past Suhl.

“Way to tear a family a part,” one of them said, as the other shook her head.

A court officer stepped in between Suhl and the women.

“Alright,” he said, ushering the women toward a staircase. “We’re done here.”

Suhl declined to comment after the incident Monday. Thomas Kennedy did not respond to an interview request made Tuesday through his son’s attorney, David Hoose.

Christopher Kennedy was convicted in Hampshire Superior Court of indecent exposure, assault and battery and indecent assault and battery. He was fired last month after being on suspension for more than a year, according to Massachusetts State Police.

Prosecutors previously said in court that Kennedy exposed himself to a woman in her Worthington home on a July evening in 2014 and forced her to grope him. The two met on a dating website and had exchanged sexually suggestive messages.

Kennedy declined a plea deal that would have seen him receive probation time and instead took the case to trial. He was sentenced in June to six months jail time, followed by a two-year term of probation.

James Leydon, spokesman for the Hampden DA's office, declined comment Wednesday.

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at mmajchrowicz@gazettenet.com or 413-585-5234.


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