On September 25, 1995, Assistant Attorney General Paul R. McLaughlin, a distinguished
public servant and member of the Class of 1981 at Suffolk University Law School, was a
victim of violent crime as he headed home from work. An outstanding prosecutor who dedicated
his life to crime fighting, Paul became a casualty of the Boston city streets, the streets
he fought so earnestly to protect.
Paul's life exemplified the best qualities of a human being. Well-liked and admired by
his friends and colleagues, he was kind, compassionate and generous to others. He was the
first to step forward when help was needed but stepped back when commendations were given.
Paul had a wonderful sense of humor and was deeply loyal to his friends and family. He
was an extraordinarily hard worker.
He cared greatly for the people of his community. He was ethical and diligent in his pursuit
of justice and served as a role model for others in public service.
A native of Boston,
Paul graduated from Boston Latin School and Dartmouth College before earning his Juris Doctor
Degree, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School in 1981. He attended Suffolk in the
night program while working full time on Beacon Hill for the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
After graduation from Suffolk, Paul was hired as an assistant district attorney in Essex
County. In 1983, Paul became an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County where he
prosecuted hundreds of cases at both the District and Superior Court levels. In addition,
Paul served for more that two years in the Public Protection Bureau of the DA's office.
In 1991, Paul became an assistant attorney general and founding prosecutor for the Urban
Violence Strike Force. As part of the unit, Paul focused on priority prosecutions involving
gang-related activities, particularly targeting drugs, weapons, and violent crimes. In
1995, Paul asked to be reassigned to join the Safe Neighborhood Initiative in the Grove
Hall section of Boston, a model crime fighting and neighborhood revitalization project
designed to battle escalating violence and improve the quality of life.
In his years as a prosecutor in Suffolk Superior Court, Paul obtained an extraordinarily
high rate of convictions: 98 out of 134 defendants whom he prosecuted. Paul was also the
lead prosecutor for the first phase of Operation Greed, a joint law enforcement initiative
conducted by Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, District Attorney Ralph Martin, Country
Sheriff Robert Rufo, and the Boston Police Department. The operation resulted in the apprehension
of fugitives wanted for a variety of offenses including assault with intent to murder,
gun possession, and drug trafficking.
Throughout his adult life, Paul was interested in politics and local community affairs.
He served as a staff member of the Democratic State Committee and as a member of the Democratic
Ward Committee for Ward 20. He was an active member of the American Cancer Society, including
past Director of the Central Boston Unit and past President of the Arboretum Unit. He was
Co-President of the West Roxbury Library Association and active in the West Roxbury Historical
Society. He helped out on countless political campaigns, holding signs, working the phones,
or assuming a more senior role, as needed.
Paul was awarded, posthumously, the Prosecutor of the Year for 1995-1996 by the Massachusetts
Association of District Attorneys. This is the highest honor that this group can bestow
on an individual. In 2000, the Colonel Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club opened a new building
named for Paul. The Paul R. McLaughlin Youth Center provides a wide array of programs and
activities for over 1000 children from Dorchester and surrounding communities, including
a child care center, a teen center, and the McLaughlin Law Education Center, a collaborative
program with the Massachusetts Attorney General's and the Suffolk County DA's offices.
Among the many other memorials and tributes to Paul are the mural painted in his honor
at the Suffolk Country Court House, the tabernacle dedicated to him at St. Theresa's Church
in West Roxbury, the tree planted in his honor at the West Roxbury Public Library, and
the bench placed on the beach in West Hyannisport, a favorite childhood spot of Paul's.