Robert Oliva, 66, won five New York City championships as the coach at Christ the King Regional High School. Mr. Oliva (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) has now returned to Massachusetts. The Defendant has come back to answer charges of Boston sexual assault on children dating to the 1970s.
His answer was “guilty”.
In exchange for the Defendant’s plea, he was sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court to five years of MA probation for to two counts of child rape and one count of disseminating pornography to a minor, during a 1976 trip to Boston with a 14-year-old boy.
The statute of limitations in such matters is 10 years. However, given the state of the law, complainants may file criminal complaints up to the age of 43, sometimes even later.
As a society, we tend to try to make it as easy as possible for children to come forward to report sex crimes when they happen to them. This is a good thing.
Often, however, we stretch the rules to the extent that mere allegations are akin to criminal convictions, even years before there is ever a trial.
Yesterday, I wrote about reasons why children, when making allegations of being raped, might find themselves trapped in a lie, the seriousness about which they might not realize.
I want to repeat one thing I said yesterday…I am not saying that these allegations are never true. I am saying, though, that I believe that they are not always true.
Such accusations can also come because the manipulation by adults upon which children depend. For example, parents are usually, and hopefully, physically demonstrative of their affection for their kids. The line between said affection and criminal liability is much thinner than you might imagine. Is a spanking in itself a Massachusetts Indecent Assault and Battery? Is taking the temperature of a young child rectally, when that child is merely staying with you and not your own, rape? How about when a child runs to you and you pick her or him up, holding from their bottom? Indecent assault?
You may be surprised to learn that the answers to these questions could well be “yes”.
Now let’s play it back should relationships sour. Mommy and daddy are in the middle of a bitter divorce. Little Lila is living with mommy. Mommy keeps reminding Lila how daddy used to touch her bottom in a “bad”way. Lila remembers the picking up as described above. Mommy says that this was bad and, maybe, the hands were even more intrusive. Maybe mommy helps Lila remember other events.
Maybe these other events never took place. Experts will tell you that the child can be easily manipulated, consciously or unconsciously, by adults and the resulting newly manufactured memories can become very real.
“Come on, Sam….who would do that to a child?”
In my 25+ years of experience in the criminal justice system, I can tell you that I have seen a lot of behavior demonstrated that most of us would truly consider “evil”.
And said evil is not only performed by those who carry the name “defendant”. Further, consider the manipulations that I have described in earlier blogs when adults are pulled into the criminal justice system.
Do you really think that the need for the Commonwealth to pressure and manipulate is reserved solely for those over the age of 18 years of age?
I do not minimize the problem of sexual predators. They exist. However, when we, in the name of protecting children, rush to judgment in kneejerk fashion (similar to how we handled the South Hadley bullying matters), we often do more harm than good.
The unfairly accused, and sometimes convicted, should be a concern as well.
It is to me.
So, if you are being accused of a sex crime against a child, I advise you to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you…before, in trying to help yourself, you make matters worse.
If you would like that attorney to be me, please feel free to call me at 617-492-3000 to arrange a free initial consultation.
If you would like to read the original articles upon which today’s blog is based, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/sports/basketball/05sportsbriefs-oliva.html and http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110408/NEWS/104080330/-1/NEWSMAP