PEABODY — A Peabody police officer who was arrested and charged with breaking and entering in Lynn Wednesday was released on $1,000 bail at Essex County Superior Court in Salem on Friday.
James Festa, who was accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s home on Wednesday, has been ordered under 24-hour house arrest with the surveillance of a GPS monitor. He has also been ordered a no-contact order with the victim.
Lynn Police responded to a call at around 10:15 a.m. from the victim at her home. According to the police report, the victim alleges that Festa was her former boyfriend and that he came by the house to talk.
After she did not open the door to allow him entry, she alleges he entered the house through a window. He was in uniform at the time of the incident. Peabody Police Chief Thomas Griffin confirmed that Festa was on duty.
After police arrived at the home, the woman could be heard on the radio saying that their relationship “has never had violence and there was no physical contact in this incident,” according to the police report.
As stated in the report and presented in court Friday, the victim did not want Festa arrested and did not want to place a restraining order against him. Though the victim did not appear in court, the person speaking also said that the incident had been “blown out of proportion” and wished for him to be released.
Festa, a former assistant coach for the Peabody High football team, was denied bail at a dangerousness hearing on Wednesday.
Griffin confirmed that the matter is under investigation and that he has notified the Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission as required under Police Reform that an investigation has been opened. The commission is charged with creating a mandatory certification process for police officers, as well as processes for decertification, suspension of certification, or reprimand in the event of certain misconduct.
“I can’t really comment at this time except to say that once we gather all the facts, we will then go to the city solicitor and the mayor’s office. After that, it will then be reviewed by the POST Commission under the rules,” said Griffin.
Festa will be in custody this weekend, but will be released in Lynn on Monday morning where he will receive the GPS bracelet.
Rachel Galatis can be reached at [email protected].