By Jim Smith
BOSTON — A former Massachusetts state police lieutenant was indicted last Thursday by a federal grand jury for allegedly attempting to foil the FBI’s search for Irish American mobster James "Whitey" Bulger.
Prosecutors say that Richard Schneiderhan, 66, a former organized crime investigator for the state police, told Bulger associates in 1999 that the phone lines of certain South Boston residents were being tapped by the FBI as part of the effort to locate Bulger, who has been on the run since early 1995.
The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are now reporting that their sources confirm that the phones being monitored were those of the fugitive’s brothers, William Bulger, president of the University of Massachusetts, and clerk magistrate of Boston Juvenile Court John Bulger.
"The members of the Bulger group fostered and maintained relationships with active and former law enforcement officers . . . no agency was immune to the corrupt efforts, and no agency or law enforcement officer will be immune from the ongoing investigation to uncover such corruption," said U.S. Attorney Donald Stern in announcing the indictment last week.
Schneiderhan joined the state police in 1959. In 1963, he was assigned to the attorney general’s office, where he worked in the organized crime unit. He retired in 1984.
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The indictment says that Schneiderhan told Kevin Weeks, a former top deputy of Bulger who is now cooperating with authorities in exchange for leniency, about the phone taps.
The link between Bulger’s gang and law enforcement officials has become increasingly clearer with Schneiderhan’s indictment and others in recent weeks.
Former FBI agent John Connolly was accused last month of giving Bulger the names of three confidential informants who ended up dead. And earlier this month, Michael Flemmi, a retired Boston police officer and brother of Bulger sidekick Stephen Flemmi, was indicted for helping Bulger hide a large arsenal of weapons at sites around Boston.
Schneiderhan pled innocent to conspiracy and obstruction of justice at his arraignment Thursday. He was released on $25,000 bond.