Assault and battery charges dropped against Southcoast CEO Hovan

Dec 20, 2021

The assault and battery charges against Southcoast Health CEO Keith Hovan were dropped before his trial on Dec. 20 at the request of the victim, who declined to testify. 

The charges stem from a Nov. 6 incident at Hovan’s Mary Pond Road Home in Rochester.

Police were dispatched to Hovan’s house at about 10:30 pm after receiving a 911 call. Hovan was taken into custody, transported to the police station and charged with assault and battery after police interviewed the victim and a witness, Rochester Police said. 

Sippican Week does not publish the names of domestic violence victims.

The incident stemmed from an argument over what to watch on television, according to accounts detailed in the police report.

When police arrived on the scene, an officer observed that Hovan seemed to be covered in an alcoholic-smelling liquid. Hovan made a statement along the lines of “It was me, I did it,” the officer wrote.

Responding officers noted spots of blood on the victim’s clothing and a red mark under their eye that was “consistent with an impact of some kind.” Later, police observed that the mark under the victim’s eye got more pronounced and eventually bruised.

Bail was set at $240 after a mandatory six-hour holding period and Hovan posted bail shortly after, according to the report. Hovan pleaded not guilty at his Nov. 9 arraignment.

While not ordered to stay away from his Mary's Pond Road home, the state Department of Child and Family Services advised Hovan not to go back and he agreed to stay on his boat in Marion, instead.

A large number of firearms were located at Hovan’s home, police said.

Police recovered 50 firearms, 19,514 rounds of ammunition, and 83 illegal high-capacity magazines, according to police reports.

Hovan is scheduled to have a magistrate hearing on Jan. 10 for the magazine charges, according to Rochester Police. 

A clerk-magistrate’s hearing, or show cause hearing, is a preliminary hearing wherein the court decides whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. If the probable cause standard is met, the defendant will be charged and arraigned for the crime. If it is not, then the case will be dismissed and no charges will be filed.

Hovan’s firearms were confiscated after his license to carry was revoked during his arrest on the assault and battery charge.

In the wake of the charges, Hovan has taken a leave of absence from his Southcoast Health duties. 

He wrote in a statement that the situation had caused an unfair distraction.

“As we continue to address the greatest public health crises of our lifetimes, Southcoast Health deserves a leader unencumbered by current personal matters to run what I believe to be the most exceptional health care system in the state,” Hovan wrote in the statement. “There is nothing more important to me than my family. Please know that the pride, gratitude and awe I feel in leading such an incredible group of dedicated and talented employees is a very close second.”

Hovan was hired as the President and CEO of Southcoast Hospitals Group, Inc. in 2008 and as President and CEO of Southcoast Health System, Inc. in 2011.

Prior to his time at Southcoast, Hovan was the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Danbury Health System.

Hovan was also the co-chairman of Governor Baker’s healthcare transition team after the 2014 gubernatorial election.