ALFRED — The chief of the Eliot Police Department knew that a majority of the town’s police officers consistently falsified their patrol reports and he did nothing about it, the department’s former deputy chief said in York County Superior Court on Friday.

Testifying during a hearing for an unrelated criminal case, former Deputy Chief Kevin Cady said he presented a 60-plus-page report to the chief documenting how he discovered that four of the department’s six patrol officers had repeatedly lied in their reports, claiming they had patrolled areas in town, while GPS mapping data from their cruisers proved they hadn’t.

Cady said he gave the report to Chief Theodor Short in April 2009.

“He told me that I had opened a can of worms,” Cady said of Short’s response.

Another former Eliot police officer, Kevin Curran, also testified Friday that he had seen Cady’s report in the Eliot police station as recently as 2011.

But the police chief has told the court that Cady’s report never existed, according to attorney Amy Fairfield, who subpoenaed both former officers as witnesses in the criminal case.

The allegations of falsified reports and chief’s inaction had not been made public before Friday’s hearing. Short did not appear in court. But the town’s attorney, Asha Echeverria, defended him by saying that no finalized report exists and no officer wrongdoing had been proven.

The testimony came up during a pretrial hearing for Paul Olsen, 33, who is accused of assaulting and raping his former girlfriend at her Eliot home. The case was investigated by the town’s police in 2012.

Fairfield, who is Olsen’s attorney, has demanded that Short turn over Cady’s report to be used as evidence in Olsen’s defense, believing it could undermine the credibility of the officers who brought the charges against her client.

Before Friday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Miscio had asked Justice John O’Neil Jr. to ban the public from the court in an effort to protect the police officers from unproven allegations that could tarnish their careers.

PUBLIC ALLOWED

The judge denied Miscio’s motion, allowing the public, including several media members, to remain in the courtroom. But the judge instructed the lawyers involved in the case that, for now, they could not let witnesses name any of the individual officers accused of falsifying their reports.

While the public has a constitutional right to be in the courtroom, state law requires that individual state employees’ personnel records are confidential, O’Neil said. He agreed with a lawyer from the Eliot police union, Jonathan Goodman, that the officers should at least be allowed advance notification and legal representation before that could happen.

“I think the court crafted a ruling that at least at this stage protects the rights of the public as well as the police officers and the defendant,” Miscio said after the hearing. He added that he felt Friday’s session was one-sided and he expects to present evidence that contradicts what Cady and Curran said when he calls his witnesses.

Olsen, who has been jailed since his arrest on Sept. 19, 2012, sat in the courtroom silently throughout the afternoon. While the hearing was held nominally in the case against him, the focus rested entirely on Eliot police practices in the period before his arrest.

Cady testified that he began looking into GPS data and officers’ patrol reports in 2009 after an ex-girlfriend accused a patrolman of domestic violence stalking while he was on duty.

Though Cady did not name that officer at Friday’s hearing, news reports from the time describe former Eliot police officer Matthew Raymond’s arrest on a stalking charge. Raymond ultimately pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of harassment, according to an article by The Portsmouth Herald in 2010.

Cady testified that to verify the accuracy of the GPS evidence in the stalking case, he checked data from other officers’ cruisers and found that it didn’t match what they had documented in their reports. He said the department had required officers to conduct checks at the homes of people who were out of town and record each time that they had conducted those checks.

Court recessed Friday before the conclusion of the hearing. Testimony is expected to resume within the next few weeks.

“This absolutely needs to be done in public,” Fairfield said after court adjourned. “It keeps people honest. They need to know that people are watching. There are a lot of good cops out there, but there are some who are not so good.”