Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

NORTH ATTLEBORO MIDDLE SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELOR IS CHARGED WITH RAPE OF A 14-YEAR-OLD STUDENT

As we start today’s blog, hoping for a more regular posting schedule than the last couple of weeks (again), we turn to the transition occurring for our kids. Namely, the school year is ending.

This week, I plan to start and end the week with stories related to school-related matters.

We turn first to North Attleboro, Massachusetts. There, a 31-year-old Middle School guidance counselor is facing charges with having sex with a 14-year-old student. At his arraignment last week, he was held on $30,000 bail.

Brian McBride, hereinafter, the “Defendant” has pleaded not guilty to the charges which include statutory rape. The proceeding was eventful in its own right as the complainant’s father had to be removed from the courtroom after an outburst.

Prosecutors allege that the Defendant, himself a married father of a toddler, had sex with the girl at school, in his car and at his home during several months last year.

According to law enforcement, the Defendant followed his course of bad judgment by making a few unfortunate statements to police. First of all, he allegedly told them that his marriage was in trouble and that he loved the girl.

Apparently, “love” bloomed when was the Defendant, also the girl’s chorus teacher, gave her private singing lessons.

The Defendant’s lawyer explained that his client was “well respected in the community up until these allegations.”

Yes, well, as we have discussed in the past…allegations of this type have been known to change such reputations rather quickly.

Attorney Sam’s Take On “Third Party” Defenses

When I first heard this story on the radio, I heard that the alienation of affections at home was actually claimed to be the cause of the “love affair” with the student.

I thought it was an… interesting… approach.

There are times in which a third-party might be blamed for the actions of a defendant. It does not happen often in criminal law though.

Sometimes a defense can claim that the complainant is to blame for what happened to him or her. This would usually be in self-defense or defense-of-another cases. In the case of rape, however, the closest to “blaming the victim” is claiming that the complainant is not telling the truth. In other words, the old and disgusting claim of “she was asking for it” no longer holds. In any event, the defense all “hey, I was not getting enough love and affection at home so I figured maybe I could get one of my students to supply some.” is not likely to be successful.

It is also unlikely to do the marital relationship much good either.

Actually, I realize that I have forgotten something. Although it is a rare, there are cases in which a third party can be blamed by the defense in a matter such as this… and it could be successful. If believed.

If someone is standing with a gun pointed at your head and is telling you that unless you do something illegal he is going to shoot your head clear off, the claim of duress might be made.

It would be probably be a hard sell to get a jury to believe that someone was sticking a gun at your head, threatening to shoot you unless you had sex with someone.

In any event, that is not what is claimed here. It seems unlikely that a jury would find that the Defendant’s wife’s alienation of affection’s produced enough duress to force the defendant to have sex with an under-aged person.

Of course, should this matter go to trial, and the prosecutor be allowed to introduce the statement, you can be sure that it will be the subject of a great deal of ridicule.

The Defendant is probably trying to rationalize and explain why he did what he did (assuming he actually did it). It is unlikely that he believed that he was rendering his legal defense in the upcoming rape case. So, as odd and humorous as it may seem at first, his statements really not all that absurd. Remember that we do not know the details of how this alleged statement came about. As we have discussed in the past, there are ways of manipulating a suspect to say certain things. It would not be unusual for detectives in questioning a suspect to ask what the person was thinking when they performed a particular act, particularly a crime. That does not mean that the suspect is announcing his legal theory.

It might have occurred to you that, instead of rendering his rationale, the Defendant would have been better served keeping his mouth shut. I would agree with that. We have often discussed the pros and cons (mostly cons) of making admissions to the police. It hardly ever pays to fall into that trap.

The best course of action, of course, is to exercise one’s right to remain silent until one is able to have an experienced attorney present.

The statements the Defendant is said to have made will likely be the subject of a motion to suppress before the trial of this matter.

If there is going to be a trial.

For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.wggb.com/2014/05/28/attleboro-middle-school-teacher-admits-to-sex-with-student/

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