Governor Baker’s #MeToo Blind Spot

Massachusetts Governor Under Fire for Sexual Assault Allegations Against Son

Oscar Kim Bauman, Scarlet Staff

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has, unlike most of his fellow Republicans, positioned himself as an ally of the #MeToo movement. He spoke out against casino mogul Steve Wynn when the latter was accused of sexual assault, welcoming a review of Wynn’s in-development casino in Everett and supporting the eventual removal of Wynn from the project. Just last month, Governor Baker referred to the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as “sickening” and called for the Senate’s vote to be postponed. Amidst all this virtuous posturing, however, Governor Baker has refused to make any but the most perfunctory remarks about the allegations against his own son. Governor Baker needs to pick a side and openly discuss his son’s case if he intends to continue to portray himself as standing against sexual harassment and assault.  

On June 20, police were called to meet an incoming JetBlue flight from Washington, D.C. as it landed at Logan Airport. On the call, an unidentified crew member said “we have a customer that’s been groping one of the female passengers.” On the 22nd, CBS Boston reported that the groper on the flight was Governor Baker’s 24-year-old son Andrew Baker, better known as A.J.. The “Boston Globe” reported that a “visibly shaken” 29-year-old woman told Massachusetts State Police that Baker had groped her breast on the flight, and only stopped following intervention from flight attendants. While Baker claims to have been asleep the whole time, other passengers and flight attendants have backed up the allegations. The police report also reveals that Baker told a flight attendant that his actions were okay because the woman was “his sister’s best friend.” In fact, there is no indication that Baker knew the woman before the flight. Shortly after the incident, Governor Baker said that “these allegations are serious and they require an independent review, which is why [A.J.] will cooperate with the US attorney’s office.” Governor Baker has since denied numerous opportunities to comment on the case.  

The most concerning aspect of this case is not what Governor Baker has said about his son’s case, but rather all that he hasn’t said. Since June, he’s been tight-lipped regarding the case, and since the results of cases involving private citizens aren’t made public, we don’t even know if the case is ongoing or if it has been resolved. All we can be sure of is that A.J. Baker hasn’t been arrested or sentenced to serve time in prison, sentenced to serve time in prison, and hasn’t been arrested, andbut any other conclusions exist in the realm of complete speculation. Any possible case or charges against Baker would be under the purview of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. However, since the office has a policy of not commenting on ongoing investigations, no public details exist on the status of the Baker case.  

Governor Baker, of course, has no legal obligation to reveal the status of his son’s case. But given his history of speaking up against those alleged to have committed sexual abuse, as well as the fact that all other bodies are legally restrained from commenting, the governor has a moral obligation to do so. Governor Baker is free to state if the case is ongoing, and if not, what its resolution was. Until he does so, he allows his image as a rare Republican ally to victims of sexual assault to go tarnished with apparent nepotism, that he cares about victims of abuse unless it was his son doing the abusing. Until Governor Baker is transparent with the public, he allows speculation to run rampant. We cannot know if A.J. Baker was treated more favorably because of his father’s status, or if the complaints of the woman he allegedly groped were taken seriously. We cannot know if the governor influenced the actions of the state police, either directly or indirectly. Governor Baker must stop acting like a man with something to hide, and be transparent with the public about what his son did, and address what action is being taken. Through revealing the truth, Governor Baker’s moral standing will either be restored or shown to have been phony. But one way or another, the public deserves to know the answer.