Hospital CEO charged with possession of 83 illegal high-capacity magazines

UPDATE: Hovan takes leave of absence from Southcoast Health
Nov 12, 2021

ROCHESTER — Southcoast Health CEO Keith Hovan, announced on Friday, Nov. 12 that he would be taking a leave of absence from the hospital system, effective immediately.

Hovan, who was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery on Nov. 6, is now facing further felony charges after police discovered illegal high-capacity firearm magazines at his Rochester home, according to Rochester Police Officer Sgt. Nathan Valente.

Hovan’s firearms were confiscated after his license to carry was revoked during his arrest on the assault and battery charge.

During their search of Hovan’s home, police recovered 50 firearms, 19,514 rounds of ammunition, and 83 illegal high-capacity magazines, according to police reports.

Full lists of both the illegal magazines and the legal firearms and ammunition recovered by police are attached to this article.

In his statement announcing his leave of absence, Hovan wrote that the allegation 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.”

The Southcoast Board of Trustees also released a statement acknowledging Hovan’s leave and naming Dr. Rayford Kruger, Chief Physician Executive for the Southcoast Physicians Group, to lead Southcoast Health in his absence.

“Nothing is more important than our patients, our community, our physicians and our staff,” read the Board’s statement. “We are still living through a global public health emergency, and we must all remain singularly focused on delivering the exceptional care that is our bond with our community.”

Though Hovan is not being charged for any of the guns or ammunition recovered, he faces 83 counts of felony possession of a large-capacity feeding device, each of which carries a penalty of up to $1,000 fine and up to 2 years imprisonment.

For all 83 counts, Hovan is technically facing a maximum sentence of over 160 years imprisonment. But Valente said based on his experience with the court system, it is unlikely that Hovan will ultimately have to serve any jail time at all.

“He’s most likely looking at fines. At most, I’d say two years [imprisonment],” said Valente. “Even though the magazines were illegal, his firearms were stored properly and safely... so that gets taken into account. I seriously doubt he’ll see any jail time for it.”

According to police reports, Hovan described himself as a “collector of firearms” and said that some of his guns were “firearm queens” which were for display only. But Valente said that most of the firearms recovered from Hovan’s property were not antiques or collector’s items but modern, “high-end, high-quality firearms.”

Hovan was cooperative throughout the process of confiscating his firearms, according to police.

Valente also said that the number of weapons recovered did not strike him as abnormally high.

“We’ve confiscated up to double that [amount] in similar situations,” he said.

The weapons and ammunition that were not considered evidence of crimes were confiscated, inventoried and stored by J & S Guns and Ammo, a bonded firearms warehouse facility run by John Lienard.

J & S also provided the final count of ammunition recovered but apologized after initially estimating the amount of ammunition to be between 75,000 and 80,000 rounds, according to Valente.

Lienard’s expertise was also employed by Rochester Police to confirm which of Hovan’s magazines were illegal to own.