News flash! MassGOP backs candidate who allegedly exposed himself

Reached for comment, candidate Protentis adamantly denied exposing himself and said he plans to fight the charges in court Nov. 1 – five days before the election.

But they won’t help out Anthony Amore

If you go to the official website of the Massachusetts Republican party, you will find no mention of the party’s candidate for state auditor, Anthony Amore.

You will, however, find an endorsement of the GOP candidate from the First Bristol and Plymouth Senate district, one Russell Protentis of Lakeville.

Does the name ring a bell? Probably not, but you may have seen a surveillance photo of the GOP statesman on the Facebook page of the Hanover Police Department, with “IDENTIFIED” slapped across it.

Or you may have seen this Geoff Diehl campaign contributor’s name in a story from Channel 25:

“Man faces charges after committing lewd act at Hanover YMCA.”

Actually, that should say “allegedly” committing lewd act. He was charged with open and gross lewdness and annoying a member of the opposite sex.

Reached for comment, candidate Protentis adamantly denied exposing himself and said he plans to fight the charges in court Nov. 1 – five days before the election.

But he does admit to part of what the Hanover cops said about him in their report – that he gave two false names to the staff at the Y after they confronted him.

“Yeah, that’s true, because when they accused me, I could see how this thing could go sideways.

“In retrospect, that probably wasn’t a smart thing to do, but I hadn’t done anything, and it was a Friday afternoon. If I hadn’t given those fake names, I would have been arrested and spent the weekend at the Plymouth County House of Correction, and I didn’t want to have to be dealing with this thing from a pay phone at the jail.”

According to the Hanover PD, on July 15 a 52-year-old woman and her 27-year-old daughter were swimming at the YMCA pool when the older female spotted an elderly man in the pool.

“She immediately noticed the man had pulled his penis out of the top of his bathing suit and was blatantly exposing his penis to her and anyone else that might be in the area.”

Protentis says he did no such thing. By the way, this was not a campaign event. Hanover is quite a distance from his senatorial district.

“(The mother) stated she was ‘shocked,’ ” the police report says, “and that it clearly appeared as if the male party was doing this intentionally so that she and anyone else nearby would see.”

According to the police report, the woman then went to the Y staff and they tracked Protentis down.

“He did not admit to exposing himself but stated to staff ‘this could ruin my career’ and indicated he was running for political office. When asked his name the male party first said it was Thomas Peterson and that he was a member at the Middleborough YMCA and a public official.”

A public official! The staff checked up on “Thomas Peterson.”

“After staff was unable to find a record for a member by that name the male party said his name was Jack Price, a member of the Quincy YMCA. Staff was also unable to find a member under that name … They asked the male party to leave and he did so without incident.”

Then the Y called the cops and pulled the surveillance video, which the HPD posted online with an urgent request for assistance from law-abiding citizens in identifying the alleged perv.

“On Tuesday I got a call from someone from my church and he asked me if I knew I was on the police department website.”

This was in July, and Protentis was soon arraigned at Hingham District Court. Apparently, nobody at the state GOP cared, or maybe noticed, because the party has turned into a Jonestown-style cult, only concerned with destroying Anthony Amore for his sin of doing what all the state GOP’s cult leaders have done in the past — sucking up to Gov. Charlie Baker for photos with him and cash from his political committees.

We’ll deal with all that on Friday. Today let’s discuss the GOP’s officially endorsed candidate against Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport, the Senate chairman of Ways and Means.

Protentis is thisclose to state GOP chairman Jim “Jones” Lyons and Geoff Diehl. He was with them on primary election night. He says he had his picture taken with Diehl and Fred Smerlas.

Protentis wasn’t exactly running a big-budget campaign even before he made the cops’ BOLO website. According to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, he’s raised exactly $250, $100 of which he loaned his own campaign.

According to his own website, Protentis believes in “protecting the sanctity of women’s rights” and “funding our police,” not to mention “bringing integrity back to Massachusetts.”

Did I mention that his home-page photo is taken in front of … the White House?

The most interesting thing to me is that his endorsement was up there on the GOP website when serious state Senate candidates like Rep. Shawn Dooley (who ran against Jim Jones Lyons for the chairmanship) were totally MIA on the site until Monday.

“I will wear this omission as a badge of honor,” Dooley posted before he was finally added.

Full disclosure: I know Protentis a little bit. He was a federal agent for a long time. His exploits included, among other things, the takedown way back when of one of Mafia thug Larry Baione’s relatives who was operating out of a dive bar on Shawmut Avenue that I was vaguely familiar with.

Earlier this year Protentis wrote a book about his career in law enforcement and asked me for a blurb. What the hell, I called it a “fascinating memoir.” You could look it up on Amazon.

You know, in the future I may have to be a little more careful about these kinds of endorsements. They can come back to bite you, I’m coming to learn.

But if Protentis beats the rap next month, if you live in the First Bristol and Plymouth Senate district, please consider voting for Thomas Peterson, er, Jack Price, er Russell Protentis.

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