Keith Hovan. Credit: Southcoast Health

Southcoast Health President and CEO Keith Hovan was arrested late Saturday night and has been charged with assault and battery and possession of illegal firearm magazines.

He was first charged with assault and battery after a domestic incident at his home in Rochester on Nov. 6, police said. Firearms were not involved in the incident and were removed from the home as a standard precaution, said Sgt. Nathan Valente of the Rochester Police Department.

A police report states that the alleged domestic assault involved another adult resident of the home, and someone called 911.

According to incident narratives from the Rochester Police Department, an officer who responded to the home noted Hovan, 59, was “covered in a liquid” that smelled like alcohol. The officer wrote that Hovan exited the front door of his Rochester home stating “something along the lines of, ‘It was me, I did it … ’”

One officer also reported seeing cuts with blood on Hovan’s forearm.

After entering the home, an officer attended to the identified victim, spotting droplets of blood on clothing and a red facial mark that later became a bruise.

The victim told police an argument started over a television show, but became physical when the victim started writing in a journal, which Hovan then allegedly tried to grab, police reports state. An officer reported seeing ripped paper on the floor.

A few hours after the arrest, police returned to Hovan’s residence to retrieve “a large amount of firearms” that were locked inside a room in his home. Hovan received a single charge with multiple counts of possession of a large capacity feeding device (magazine), Valente said. He noted Massachusetts enacted a ban making it illegal to possess magazines produced after a certain date, and that Hovan was also in possession of legal magazines.

Hovan was also served a notice of suspension on his license to carry firearms. According to another police report, officers confiscated just over 40 firearms from the home. Valente said they ranged from pistols to semi-automatic rifles. He said the suspension can either stay just for the duration of the court proceedings or become permanent, depending on how the court rules.

According to police, Hovan said he is a collector of firearms and that some are just for display, not for use.

Police said he had roughly 19,500 rounds of ammunition, when all counted.

Hovan’s bail was set at $240 and he was released early Sunday morning. He was told to stay away from his home by Mass. Department of Children and Families personnel, according to police reports.

The Light requested comment from Southcoast Health media representatives late Tuesday morning. In response, Molly Horan, vice president at communications agency Solomon McCown & Cence, wrote they are representing Southcoast Health on the matter.

Horan said Hovan had no comment and that he is still working. She provided The Light with a written statement that was sent to all hospital staff on Tuesday from the Southcoast Health Board of Trustees.

It stated Hovan “immediately” made the board aware the following morning, and that the board met on several occasions to review the details and discuss next steps.

“As a Board, we value and respect every member of the Southcoast Health team,” the statement read. “It is important that you know that the Board is aware and will always directly address matters affecting the Southcoast Health community.”

According to its website, Hovan was appointed president and CEO of Southcoast Hospitals Group, Inc. in July 2008 and president and CEO of Southcoast Health System, Inc. in July 2011. He has received numerous honors over the years. 

The hospitals group includes Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, and Tobey Hospital in Wareham. The Southcoast Visiting Nurses Association, Southcoast Physicians Group, Southcoast Health Network and the Southcoast Accountable Care Organization are also subsidiary corporations, according to the website.

In November of 2020, Hovan was honored with an “outstanding citizen award” from the One SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce on behalf of all 7,500 employees at Southcoast Health, the Standard-Times reported.

Hovan was arraigned in Wareham District Court on Monday, Nov. 8, and will appear for a pretrial hearing on Nov. 24, according to the court. 

Hovan’s attorney, Christopher Markey, said he does not comment on pending litigation.

CORRECTION: This story was amended to note the actual count of ammunition inside Keith Hovan’s home, according to police. On Nov. 13, 2021, Rochester Police corrected an earlier estimate that was higher.

 Contact Anastasia Lennon at

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