Plymouth District Court Clerk Magistrate Roger O’Neil is now on administrative leave from his job at Boston Municipal Court.
It comes after a FOX Undercover investigation raised questions about why the highly paid O'Neil has essentially been hidden away for two decades in the Boston courthouse, after his own brush with the law.
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Court System says the court is now conducting its own investigation.
O’Neil was appointed clerk magistrate of Plymouth District Court in 1978, but he's been banned from the building for 20 years, even though he's still considered the clerk magistrate there and is paid like one with an annual salary of $110,000.
O’Neil was convicted of assault and battery in 1992 stemming from a scuffle with a court officer at Plymouth District Court.
According to court records... O’Neil "...grabbed (the court officer), knocked him to the ground, climbed on top of him, pulled out some of his hair, and punched him in the face."
The Supreme Judicial Court "permanently reassigned" O’Neil to Boston Municipal Court, ordering that "...Mr. O’Neil shall not exercise any legal or administrative authority with respect to the duties and operation of the office of the clerk-magistrate..."
It's not clear exactly what O’Neil has been doing for the last 20 years in Boston.
A Fox Undercover photographer found him sitting motionless at a desk, apparently sleeping.
“It's a complete failure of judicial management for the court system to say, well we're going to take that person. We're going to put them somewhere else where they may or may not be needed. And then leave open the real position and have it filled by someone who's making that salary,” said Governor’s Councilor Mary-Ellen Manning. The governor’s council must approve clerk magistrates who are nominated by the governor.
O’Neil may be off the job, but that move isn't saving taxpayers any money.
He's on paid leave and still collecting a six figure salary to sit at home.