Official overseeing prisons’ COVID response on paid leave


BOSTON (AP) — The official tapped to oversee the state prisons’ response to the coronavirus pandemic has been placed on paid leave following questions about his potential involvement in a wrongful death lawsuit that was settled several years earlier.

Seth Peters was placed Tuesday on paid administrative leave from his position as ombudsman for the Department of Correction, WBUR-FM reported. He was named in a report to lawmakers last week as the first person to hold the newly created position.

The broadcaster asked if Peters was the same Seth Peters who was accused in a lawsuit of falsifying records while working as an EMT for UMass Memorial. When responding to a man having a heart attack in 2008, that Seth Peters allegedly had the man walk down three flights of stairs. He later died and Peters allegedly altered reports and was accused of lying to investigators. UMass settled the suit for $1 million.

The report to lawmakers says Peters previously worked as a public health official in Worcester, which is where the EMT of the same name involved in the lawsuit was also later employed.

The broadcaster was not able to reach Peters for comment.

The new ombudsman role is independent from the Department of Corrections and is charged with setting standards of care related to the coronavirus pandemic and monitoring compliance with those standards.

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