PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The head of Rhode Island's Division of Motor Vehicles won't face criminal charges in connection with an alleged prostitution operation that leased his rental property, the state's attorney general said Monday.
Attorney General Peter Neronha said his review of the Rhode Island State Police investigation into DMV Administrator Walter “Bud” Craddock is complete. His office concluded the evidence does not show “beyond a reasonable doubt" that Craddock knew commercial sex activity was going on at his property in Cranston, Rhode Island.
When asked for comment from Craddock Monday, a DMV spokesperson did not provide it and directed questions to the governor's office. The governor's office is referring the matter to the state's human resources department, and said that “two highly-respected organizations” have done a thorough review and “concluded there was no criminal activity or evidence of wrongdoing against Craddock.”
Craddock has said he had no knowledge of any illegal activities at the site and had never heard any complaints.
Rhode Island's Republican Party said Craddock should still be fired from his job.
“Although there may not be enough evidence to charge Craddock with a crime, there is certainly enough evidence to show that Craddock had bad judgment,” the party said in a statement Monday.
Cranston Police shut down six unlicensed massage businesses in June that they alleged were fronts for human trafficking and prostitution, including one that rented property owned by Craddock through his real estate holding company.
Neronha’s report to the State Police on Monday said it appears rent was paid in cash, garbage bags were taped over the windows, and Craddock likely had reason to suspect the business at his unit was not a legitimate commercial enterprise, given his law enforcement background. Craddock served as Cranston's police chief.
After receiving notice that his tenant engaged in or permitted prostitution to occur on the premises, Craddock took steps to evict them, the report states.
It concludes that while there is “ample smoke” regarding the critical issue of whether Craddock had knowledge of the activity, “there is insufficient evidence to establish fire.”
Gov. Dan McKee asked the State Police last year to investigate whether Craddock had any knowledge of, or involvement in, the alleged prostitution operation. He said then that the investigation was not criminal in nature and Craddock would continue to lead the DMV while it was underway.
The State Police concluded its review in October, finding there was no evidence that Craddock had any criminal liability in connection with the activities taking place in the first floor unit of his building. The State Police then asked Neronha's office to review the investigation.