New Sheriff In Town: Gov. Patrick Appoints Koutoujian to Lead Middlesex County Office


BOSTON — Gov. Deval L. Patrick last week appointed former assistant district attorney and state Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian (D-Waltham) to the position of Middlesex County sheriff. Koutoujian will assume responsibility for the supervision of the 1,400 individuals in the Billerica House of Correction and Cambridge Middlesex Jail, oversight of all sheriff’s office operations and strengthening public safety in the 54 cities and towns that make up Middlesex County.

“As a former assistant district attorney and relentless advocate for both crime victims and social services, Peter brings a wealth of expertise, passion and know-how to this critical position,” said Patrick. “I look forward to working with him to strengthen our re-entry programs and reduce youth violence.”

“I thank Governor Patrick for the confidence he has shown in me and look forward to serving the people of Middlesex County in this important capacity,” said Koutoujian. “I will bring the full weight of lessons learned prosecuting criminals as a Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney, fighting for victims’ rights and public safety in the Legislature and actively engaging with the community to bear in my new role.”

During his service as a Middlesex Assistant District Attorney from 1991-1995, Koutoujian handled criminal cases including major felonies and misdemeanors as well as appellate matters in the county’s 12 district courts and the Supreme Judicial Court. As a state representative serving 40,000 constituents in the 10th Middlesex District (Newton, Waltham and Watertown), Koutoujian has developed, debated and helped pass legislation pertaining to harassment restraining orders, victims’ bill of rights, health care reform, courthouse security, prosecutor’s right to jury in sexually dangerous person trials and stem cell research, among other successful initiatives.

Koutoujian is also an active community advocate and academic, serving as honorary co-chair of the Armenian Heritage Park Foundation, which raised funds and will oversee the construction of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy’s Armenian Heritage Park, and lecturing at various universities including Bentley, Northeastern and Harvard and Boston University’s Schools of Public Health. He serves as a board member of REACH Beyond Domestic Violence in Waltham and is a pro-bono attorney for the Victim’s Rights Law Center.

Koutoujian received a bachelor’s in psychology from Bridgewater State University, a JD from New England School of Law and a master’s of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1996, and has served on the criminal justice and public safety committees and chaired the health care and public health committees. He is currently the chairman of the Committee on Financial Services.

Koutoujian’s appointment fills the vacancy created by the death of Sheriff James DiPaola. DiPaola killed himself in November after public scrutiny following news reports about his plan to simultaneously collect his salary and his pension and a state Ethics Commission investigation. An election to fill the remainder of DiPaola’s term will occur in November 2012.