School Official Disciplined for Misuse of LexisNexis

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission fined Mark Rivera, the former Lawrence School Department Urban Affairs Liaison and Special Assistant to the School Superintendent, for misuse of his access rights to LexisNexis.

The Lawrence School Department purchased access to the LexisNexis database so Rivera could obtain contact information for parents no longer living in the district, and contact parents and students regarding attendance issues. However, Rivera misused his School Department access to conduct “hundreds of searches of non-public information on individuals, including state and local elected officials, professional athletes and Hollywood celebrities….”

Massachusetts General Law chapter 268a §23(b)(2) prohibits a public official from using their official position to “to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value and which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.”

Rivera used his official position to gain access to the database for private purposes.

Running database checks on Lawrence police Chief John Romero, David Ortiz, Johnny Damon, Michael Chiklis and Hugh Laurie cost Rivera $5,000.

This is not the only trouble for Rivera. He was also indicted on seven counts of larceny and was forced to resign in April. His boss, suspended Lawrence Superintendent Wilfredo Laboy, was recently indicted for fraud, embezzlement and possession of alcohol on school premises.

The Lawrence Public Schools system is among the poorest districts in Massachusetts. Almost 83 percent of its student body is classified as economically disadvantage.