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Peabody Cop: Child Sex Offender or Victim of Vengeful Teen?

Veteran Peabody police officer suspended from duty while a case is ongoing against him on multiple charges of sexual abuse of a young family member years ago.

Following the details aired in court Friday, the public is left to believe either veteran Peabody police officer Fred Wojick repeatedly sexually molested a young child (a female family member) for years or the girl is really lying to get revenge on Wojick for trying to split up her and her boyfriend.

Wojick, a 48-year-old patrolman in the Peabody Police Department, was arraigned Friday morning in Peabody District Court on six counts of indecent assault and battery on a child and one count of dissemination of obscene material (watching pornography with the girl).

The Peabody native, who is currently living in Danvers, joined his hometown department nearly 12 years ago and is a decorated officer, most recently receiving three formal commendations for actions in the line of duty from Police Chief Robert Champagne at the department's annual awards ceremony last year.

Wojick was arrested Thursday night at 7 p.m. by state police detectives assigned to the Essex County District Attorney's office who worked on the case with Peabody police. Wojick was held overnight and appeared in court with his attorney Tom Drechsler.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on personal recognizance by Judge Matthew Nestor and ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or her mother and not leave the state.

Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall outlined a history of alleged overt sexual behavior and remarks toward the young girl over four years, from the time she was 10 until 14. The girl, now 17, did not come forward with the allegations, however, until about a week ago, according to MacDougall.

The girl told investigators she didn't speak up before because she didn't want to hurt her mother, who had a good relationship with Wojick.

MacDougall said, prior to the girl's confession, Wojick had confided in a fellow Peabody officer he was having serious personal problems and that his family life was in shambles.

Wojick then allegedly said he sometimes joked around and slapped the girl's backside, but did not indicate the behavior went any further than that.

He was admitted to a hospital for treatment, which his attorney characterized Friday as due only to stress-related issues.

Officers initially questioned the girl and her mother about the situation and the girl said there was no overtly inappropriate behavior by Wojick, while acknowledging he did not approve of her boyfriend. Three days later, however, she told a different story.

The girl said Wojick would talk to her about explicit sexual acts and one time sat her on his lap to watch adult pornography when she was 11 or 12. As he explained what they were seeing, he became aroused, she said.

As she became older and reached puberty, she said, Wojick made more overt sexual comments about her body and repeatedly touched her in a sexual way, including sticking his hand down her shirt and touching her clothed genitals.

According to the girl, she and Wojick had come to an understanding in recent weeks after he realized his previous behavior amounted to sexual abuse.

On Friday, Drechsler called the girl's allegations "salacious" and "sensationalized," saying Wojick fully denies any such behavior occurred. Rather, Drechsler argued, the teen was possibly seeking revenge on Wojick.

He said Wojick disapproved of the girl's relationship with her boyfriend, who had run afoul of the law, and it was only until after he tried to prevent her from seeing the boyfriend anymore that allegations of sexual abuse were made.

Drechsler said the two were arguing about the boyfriend since the summer at least, their most recent argument just days before she told police of the alleged abuse.

Drechsler pointed to Wojick's long career as a police officer -- 21 years in total -- and lack of any past legal or criminal problems. He added that Wojick also coaches Pop Warner football and has never had a complaint against him.

Prior to Peabody, Wojick spent five years as an officer at UMass Lowell and then another five with the Essex Police Department. He graduated from Peabody Veterans Memorial High School and also owns or did own a gym on Foster Street.

Drechsler said Wojick first became aware of this case a few days ago when he received a call from the state police. He went to the Danvers barracks of his own volition and returned home. Drechsler said the two spoke and planned to meet Friday anyway, but then was arrested Thursday night.

"He hasn't left town; he's still here and he will be here to face these charges," Drechsler said.

Drechsler, speaking to reporters afterward, said Wojick "strenuously denies" the allegations and there are inconsistencies in the girl's claims, which Drechsler plans to highlight at trial. He said Wojick was surprised at the turn of events.

Wojick was released, but ordered to have no contact with the girl or her mother in part because MacDougall said Wojick was sending text messages to the mother Thursday night from his holding cell. Wojick was also given a bail warning, meaning he could be held up to 60 days without bail if he violates the conditions, fails to appear in court or breaks the law.

The DA's office had requested $10,000 cash bail given the seriousness of the charges, along with family connections in Florida and concerns over Wojick's mental status.

Chief Champagne only offered brief comment Friday on the case.

“The Peabody Police Department takes any allegation against a member of the department very seriously,” he said in a statement. “Officer Wojick was placed on suspension Thursday evening and his service weapon and department identification has been retained by the department.”

Wojick is due back in court Jan. 10.

Don Hammond December 01, 2012 at 06:23 PM
If the guy is guilty, there is no punishment fitting enough for a crime like this. If the guy is innocent, it would be even more disgusting then the crimes he's accused of commiting. You never shake something like this and his life and career is just as well flushed down the toilet becaue you are dealing with a "vengeful" teen that don't get their way... People are sailing around town talking like the guy has already been found guilty. Think about how easy it would be for someone to place these accusation on you and now you are stuck with the label, guilty or not. Give him his day in court.
bjean December 01, 2012 at 07:31 PM
That's what is so disturbing about cases like this. There is no evidence, just his word versus the victims. It is sad for all involved.
Tamara December 02, 2012 at 11:38 AM
A Salem police detective once told me, due to my daughter being molested, that when detectives to their investigating on cases like this, the first thing they look for is discrepancies in the story. When an accuser is being questioned about allegations they are making, detectives will ask what happened, he went on to tell me that if a person is telling the truth, the truth will remain the same each time the question is asked, with no discrepancies, because they are reliving the story when they tell the story, they are telling it from memory, but when the accusers story keeps changing they are trying to remember their lies or trying to remember what they were coached into saying, this teenager's story has kept changing from day one....why is the question we need to ask..his life and career is over whether proven innocent or not, so for officer Wojick, hang in there the truth will come out..another question I need to ask the public about is why officer Wojick is splattered all over the news and her name remains out of the media, she is not a child, she is 17 years old, if it were a murder trial she would be tried as an adult, would she not??
Tamara December 02, 2012 at 11:45 AM
I agree with you, it is sad for all involved and I feel bad for those children out their who are really being molested and abused and are in need of help, it is teenagers like this one who make a joke out of our system that is there to protect children
Tamara December 02, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Amen...somebody with brains..I am following this case very carefully, because I had a child who was molested..its hard to defend yourself against a child, what people don't realize is that teenagers lie all the time about cases like this..a vengeful teenager, spoiled rotten, that doesn't get her own way..I believe if he is found innocent, she should be arrested and her name splattered all over the media..good luck getting into college...the accused has a right to face their accuser regardless of their age, my daughter was 3 and had to take the stand against her own father..so should she... Officer Wojick will have his day in court..all it takes is that one juror, to have a shadow of a doubt
bjean December 02, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I believe it has something to do with the policy of not reporting names of victims. The press started that a while ago.
bjean December 02, 2012 at 04:08 PM
@Tamara, it's covered under the rape shield law.
michael d December 05, 2012 at 08:06 PM
i agree with both bonnie and tamara teenagers are vicious when it comes to stuff liek this and they almost always belive the girl
shane December 09, 2012 at 03:43 AM
I'm afraid to say I'm having a similar problem with my step doughter because I disapprove of her boyfriend and her rebellious ways.many friends and family including my wife. Knows I'm. not like that but Alaska state laws are crude.I could shore use some Help!
PatchParticipant December 25, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Being a Police Officer does not make it illogical that he could have committed the crime. Obviously for them to charge him, there would need to be evidence suggesting hes guilty. In fact, I have personal knowledge....he is a skinner and a creep. Period. You are all disgusting in trying to place the blame on the victim, a sweet, young girl. Do any of you know anyone involved personally? Well I do and to suggest Wojick is innocent is a mockery of justice. And how would you feel if this happened to your daughter? No amount of job service or awards can nullify his sick and twisted behavior.
marie January 11, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Tamara, michael d, and bonnie,,,YOU ARE ALL OUT OF YOUR MINDS! Sounds like you raised or knew some nasty teens.. THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT ALL NASTY!!! (mine is not). How immature of you all to dump on ALL teenagers, Grow up. By the way, you don't know the whole story. You really don't.
marie January 11, 2013 at 12:31 AM
patchparticipant, thank you for making sense and for being mature. the other comments here, bashing a young girl, are very inappropriate. These people were ordered by a judge to stop saying horrible things about this girl on Facebook so he may be interested in seeing these awful inappropriate comments on The Peabody Patch. They should be ashamed of themselves. .
Josephine P. Jones January 17, 2013 at 02:40 PM
People who support child molesters are just as guilty. Try living with that on your conscience. Bunch of sickos.

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