The grim saga of a former Rhode Island city councilman who resigned last month after cops discovered him passed out in his parked SUV with two crack pipes beside him has taken an even darker turn.
Matthew Reilly, a 41-year-old Republican who represented Cranston’s Ward 6, was arrested Thursday morning on charges of first-degree child molestation/sexual assault, second-degree child molestation/sexual assault, and enticement of a person under 16, police said.
The bust comes just three weeks after Reilly was brought up on drug possession charges for a May 15 incident in which a passerby thought they spotted the first-term councilman, lawyer, and youth soccer coach choking in a parking lot. Responding officers found an unconscious Reilly behind the wheel, amid drug paraphernalia, a lighter, and a “white, rock-like substance,” police said at the time. He was booked and released, pending a June 15 court hearing, and resigned two days later.
On Thursday, Reilly’s legal situation became exponentially worse, as detectives from the Cranson PD, investigators from the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Special Victims Unit, and North Kingstown police took him back into custody. According to The Providence Journal, which first reported on Reilly’s latest troubles, the molestation investigation began about a week before the councilman’s recent drug arrest, following a complaint to police by the legal guardian of a 12-year-old girl. Reilly, who did not enter a plea in court on Thursday, was ordered held without bail.
Cranston Police Chief Michael J. Winquist declined to provide any further details on the case, according to the Journal.
In bodycam video from Reilly’s drug arrest, he at first denied having any drugs on him, then admitted having purchased $100 worth of crack the day before.
“It was a relapse,” Reilly told officers, noting that he was going through a “really bad divorce.” “I’ve been clean for 13 years.”
Reilly has been open about his struggles with addiction, speaking publicly for the first time at a 2021 recovery event at Cranston City Hall.
“This is something I’ve kept private for a long time,” Reilly said, going on to describe how he had at one point “lost everything” to drugs.
But a stint in rehab in 2010 put him on the right path, Reilly told the audience, saying he hoped to use his visibility as a politician to inform others about the benefits of sobriety.
“With the tools that you’re given through recovery, you’re capable of achieving greater things than you could have ever, prior to your addiction,” Reilly said. “Today, I have a career that I love helping people everyday in all different situations, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. And I’ve also been given this great gift, to be a community leader and have my ideas heard.”
Last year, amid ugly divorce proceedings, Reilly’s estranged wife submitted filings in court that included text messages purporting to show him dosing their children with sleep medication so he could leave the house and have late-night sex with a law client. The filings, which were uncovered by GoLocalProv, also alleged Reilly conspired with his client-cum-sex-partner to falsely accuse his ex-wife of violating a no-contact order.
Reilly’s law license was suspended following his May arrest, and a special master was appointed so as not to abandon his existing clients. He was evicted from his law office on May 17, the same day he resigned.
“Dear Clerk: I hereby submit my resignation as the Ward Six City Councilperson, effective immediately,” the letter read. “Very truly yours, Matthew R. Reilly.”
It was unclear as of Thursday afternoon if Reilly had retained a lawyer to speak on his behalf in the molestation case. He does not have a lawyer listed in criminal court records; a lawyer representing Reilly in his law license suspension did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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