Sep. 20, 2014
PLYMOUTH – Charles Morin says he has always been a supporter of nuclear energy, but that might all change after the Connecticut man’s recent visit to Manomet.
A retired chemist who spent 20 years working at a water filtration plant in his hometown of Waterbury, Conn., Morin found himself in handcuffs earlier this month after driving into the front gate of Pilgrim Station, the nuclear power plant off Rocky Point.
Morin said he just wanted to show his wife a stretch of shoreline he visited with their two kids 13 years ago.
It was supposed to be a birthday celebration, but Donna Morin’s birthday is Sept. 11, and a power plant security guard detained the couple until police could arrest them as trespassers.
The Morins saw the charges against them dismissed the next day in court, but the experience has left Charles Morin with bitter feelings about his visit and fresh concerns about the safety of the nuclear plant.
“They’re only a nuclear power plant. You’d think they’d have the highest security of anybody,” Morin said. “How stupid is that?”
The Morins were not the only people to find themselves in police custody after errant trips onto power plant property over the last month.
In addition to the Morins’ Sept. 11 arrests, police arrested two elderly brothers from Canada Sept. 2 and two New Hampshire men Aug. 31.
The brothers, aged 67 and 72, were on the southern jetty of the oceanfront plant. They told police they were looking for a place to fish.
One of the men from New Hampshire is a law professor who told police he once lived in Plymouth and was looking for the overlook.
Before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the power plant allowed public access to a beach and jetty on the north side of the plant. Local fishermen also enjoyed limited access to a boat ramp on the south side of the plant.
The plant closed and barricaded the northern access road after the attacks and posted the rest of the property against trespassing. For several years, armed National Guardsmen manned the front entrance.
Local police say they maintain a consistent policy about incidents at the plant. If they get a call about trespassers going beyond the front parking lot, they make an arrest.
In recent weeks, a man who claimed he was looking for a job after driving into the main lot was not arrested. But he did receive a summons to appear in court on a trespassing charge. Police did not release his name, so further details of his case were unavailable.
People who violate the exclusionary zone off shore in kayaks are also subject to arrest, but typically they are given warnings after merely straying too close to the line.
The main entrance now includes signs warning against trespassing, but there is no gate into the main parking lot.
Court records indicate the Morins, as well as the New Hampshire and Canadian men, told police they did not see the no trespassing signs. Charges against all six were dismissed at the recommendation of the state during their first court appearances.
Follow Rich Harbert @richharbertOCM.