Susan Allen, a former Andover, Massachusetts resident, was shaking as she read a letter to the Andover Select Board during a July 19 meeting. Allen is one of the many people in town who have met Fahey throughout the years, continue to support him and oppose his firing.
“After upon hearing about the firing of Mr. Fahey, many women from over the 27-year history contacted me asking me what we could do,” said Allen. “I said the best thing I think we can do is speak our truth and so that’s what I’m here to do tonight to speak upon our experience.”
Fahey was accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a minor, which led to him being fired as the director of Andover Youth Services. Many people in the town were outraged by this firing, believing that he would never do such a thing or even if he is guilty, this accusation shouldn’t have resulted in a firing.
Allen, someone who met Fahey when she was 14 and was employed at Andover Youth Services until 2009. Before starting, Allen stated that this letter was signed by and represents all of the women who have worked with Bill Fahey and continue to support him. Allen also included in the letter her experience working with Fahey and why she still supports him despite the allegations.
“As a female and former employee of Andover Youth Services, I support Bill Fahey,” Allen said. “In my role as an employee at Andover Youth Services, I was consistently challenged to be my best self and given the support to rise up to this challenge. I planned and implemented programs to help young people and as it turned out these experiences also helped me develop leadership skills and confidence.”
When the accusation was first brought to light, an investigator was hired by the town of Andover. The investigator’s findings were that the allegations against Fahey were not substantiated and the person who made the allegations against him were not credible. However, Fahey was still fired from his job, leaving many in the town frustrated and confused.
Allen continued her speech saying that she frequently saw Fahey interact with other young women and his interactions never gave her concern for the physical, psychological or sexual safety of any of these participants, volunteers or employees, including herself, during her time at AYS.
“With Bill as my boss, I was never treated as anything less than,” said Allen. “I was treated as someone with limitless potential. I never felt unsafe or objectified, there was never any sexual harassment or even innuendo as such. I felt supported and safe and it was this environment created by Bill that let me thrive.”
Allen concluded her speech saying the firing is a terrible loss for the people of Andover and demanded that the people who fired Fahey should be held accountable for their actions.
“The thought of this being cut off from future generations of young people is devastating,” Allen said. “I demand that Bill’s name be cleared and the town manager be held accountable for the failure to protect the town’s most valuable resources: the youth and youth services.”
Allen was not the only person there in support, Karen Kim, an Andover resident, spoke out at the meeting right after Allen. She demanded that the city release the full report of the accusation to the public so they can finally get some answers.
After the supporters of Fahey finished speaking, Christian Huntress, chair of the select board, addressed their questions by saying he could not answer them because the case is still under litigation and Fahey is suing town manager Andrew Flanagan.
“As I stated in the beginning, there is a lawsuit and litigation in place,” said Huntress. “For the questions that you asked, unfortunately, we cannot address those.”