Former Buckland Police chief admits to sufficient facts in sex assault case

Staff Writer
Published: 5/22/2023 6:57:49 PM
Modified: 5/22/2023 6:55:18 PM

GREENFIELD — The case of the former Buckland Police chief facing three identical sexual assault charges has been continued without a finding until next year after the defendant admitted the prosecution has sufficient facts to prove his guilt.

James T. Hicks, 56, of Buckland, must stay away from and have no contact with the named victim, according to court records. He is due back in Greenfield District Court on April 11, 2024, to revisit his three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over.

According to a police arrest narrative filed by Sgt. Joseph J. Petty, of the Massachusetts State Police, he and Trooper Adam Cardin met with a Buckland woman on Oct. 5, 2021, who told them about incidents in which Hicks allegedly touched her inappropriately.

The woman told authorities that on Aug. 16, 2020, Hicks responded to her residence after she called 911 when her male roommate started throwing items and scaring her. She stated Hicks arrived in full police uniform and separated the two, speaking with the roommate before telling the woman there wasn’t much he could do in regards to the incident. The woman reportedly told troopers that Hicks then sat next to her on a bench on a back patio and started kissing her.

According to the police report, the woman also told troopers that Hicks reached his hand down her pants. The woman said Hicks left when her roommate opened the back door and asked what the two were doing. She reported she had been drinking beer as she does every night, but did not consider herself intoxicated. She stated this was the first time she had met Hicks.

Petty confirmed with Shelburne Control dispatchers that Hicks was the only officer to respond to that residence at 11:27 p.m. on Aug. 16, 2020.

Hicks retired as Buckland Police chief on Sept. 9, after 30 years in the position. He became an auxiliary officer, which meant he could handle traffic and parade detail but could not carry a service firearm and or make arrests. He sent Kurt Gilmore, who was acting chief at the time, a resignation email on Oct. 18, 2021.

“With the pending issue I have been dealing with I feel it is best that I step aside,” Hicks wrote. “Thank you.”

The Buckland complainant also reported to troopers a separate incident, which allegedly occurred Aug. 19, 2021. After seeking police assistance with her roommate, she claims Hicks showed up in full uniform, grabbed her hand and placed it on his crotch. The woman said she pushed Hicks’ chest with her other hand and he backed off before doing it a second time.

According to the police narrative, the woman reported a third incident in which she was parked at a Greenfield gas station scratching lottery tickets on Oct. 20, 2020, when Hicks allegedly opened the passenger door and sat inside. She told troopers Hicks began touching her and reached his hand under her shirt.

The woman told troopers no physical interaction with Hicks was consensual. She said she did not report the incidents because Hicks was the police chief in a small town and she was scared. She also said she had an expired registration on her vehicle and did not want to create an issue.

The woman allegedly showed Petty text messages she sent to people after the incidents and some descriptions of what she told people had happened. Petty reported there are no surveillance cameras at that particular Greenfield gas station.

Petty reports that on Oct. 8, 2021, Assistant District Attorney Courtney Sans told him about another possible victim. Petty reports he met with this second woman, who claimed Hicks assaulted her on Dec. 27, 2018. Upon coming to her residence, dressed in full police uniform, to serve a restraining order against her ex-husband, the woman told troopers that Hicks slapped and grabbed her buttocks.

This woman reportedly told troopers she wanted to forget the incident, but that it left her feeling humiliated, demoralized and horrified. She stated she decided to contact authorities after seeing a Facebook comment from the other woman and realizing she was not the only victim.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-930-4120.


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