Republican – Massachusetts State police are appealing a decision by a clerk magistrate not to issue criminal complaints against the group of seven people found trespassing at the Quabbin Reservoir after hours last month.
The seven people, recent college graduates originally from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, were found just after midnight on May 14. All said they studied chemical engineering and were at the Quabbin because it was in line with their education and career interests, state police said.
The group of five men and two women were not arrested, but were detained, interviewed and released.
They were summonsed to district court in Belchertown for a show-cause hearing for trespassing, where the clerk issued a continuance without a finding and declined to issue criminal complaints, according to David Procopio, Massachusetts State Police spokesman.
Because the trespassing happened at a “critical infrastructure key resource site,” Procopio said state police appealed the clerk’s decision, asking for judicial review.
“As far as I know, it is still awaiting judicial review,” Procopio wrote in an email.
“In our view, the clerk’s decision was contrary to our past understanding with the court, specifically, that the continuance without criminal complaints (which is how minor motor vehicle matters are generally handled) is not the resolution in cases involving violations of the Quabbin watershed rules. This has been the practice in recent years,” Procopio said.
Because the alleged trespassers are not facing any criminal charges at this time, Procopio said their names will not be released. The log from May 14 at the state police barracks at the Quabbin only shows a log entry of “trespass” at 00:30 hours with an area blacked out. State police attached to the barracks said the identifying information for the trespassers was removed from the public log by the state police media relations unit.