We began this week warning folks about young people, drug laws and law enforcement. The violation of the drug laws, however, is not the only area in which kids are finding themselves in trouble.
What may have not been acceptable, but seldom prosecuted, in the past does get prosecuted now. There are, however, some cases in which the question of prosecution is a “no brainer”.
We know there are problems between students which include bullying, fighting and hazing in academic institutions. However, a recent case from Western Massachusetts brings such issues to a new level.
On Tuesday, the matter was brought to court in Pittsfield. It is being prosecuted as a Massachusetts sexual assault (which, of course, it allegedly was)…but I would suggest it is so much more. First, though, let’s review the allegations.
Berkshire Assistant District Attorney Rachel Eramo was the prosecutor who represented the Commonwealth at the arraignment of 17-year-old Galileo Mondol (hereinafter, the “Defendant”).
Eramo alleged that the Defendant and two 16-year-olds, unnamed because of their ages, carried out the assault the weekend of August 24-25 at Camp Lenox in Otis, where 165 members of several Somerville High School sports teams were attending an annual preseason team-building retreat.
The Commonwealth argued that the Defendant, a Somerville High soccer player, and two teammates forced their way into a cabin occupied by freshmen. The intruders allegedly told the younger players that they were going to pick someone and then pointed at various of the freshmen. Then, one of the unnamed defendants is said to have grabbed a broom, forced one of the freshman onto the floor on his hands and knees, and raped him with the broom. While the prosecutor said that the Defendant initially told the two 16-year-olds to stop, she said he then changed his mind once the assault was underway, said “I want to have a crack at that” and then acted accordingly.
The Defendant and the two 16-year-olds then allegedly assaulted two other freshmen, but they managed to fight off the attacks and were not raped, but were poked with the broomstick in their buttocks. Thereafter, as the Defendant and the two juvenile co-defendants were leaving the cabin, a freshman who had witnessed the assault said he would tell someone what had happened.
The Defendant is said to have looked the freshman in the eyes with a serious expression and said, “you better keep your mouth shut.”
The prosecutor maintained that the intimidation campaign did not end there. She alleged that the Defendant and his co-defendants continued efforts to keep the freshman quiet through various means including sending intimidating Facebook and Twitter messages.
The Commonwealth continued to describe witnesses accounts of the crying and bleeding injured freshman as well as the physical evidence that was recovered at the scene. Finally, after having apparently heard enough, the court interrupted the Commonwealth’s argument.
The Defendant pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated rape of a child under the age of 16, two counts of assault with intent to rape a child under 16, one count of indecent assault and battery, three counts of assault and battery, and three counts of witness intimidation.
The 16-year-old defendants are to be arraigned in Berkshire Juvenile Court on similar charges, according to the office of the Berkshire district attorney. Because of their age, prosecutors would not release their names or confirm when they will appear in court.
The Defendant was held on $100,000 cash bail and was scheduled to have a Dangerousness Hearing today. According to WHDH, he has been held in isolation while in custody.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Youth And Real (Albeit Alleged) Crime
Ok, let’s get the obvious out of the way first.
Often, I am critical of law enforcement for bringing to the criminal courts cases against kids that I argue do not belong there. The history of this blog is full of such arguments.
This case, though, is not that. Here, if the allegations are true, serious crimes have been committed. But, that will be for the process to determine…in time.
Let’s concentrate on where we are at the moment and what is at stake in terms of the Defendant. Either one of the defendants for that matter.
And we will do that, plus an update on today’s scheduled Dangerousness Hearing, tomorrow on a special Saturday blog.
Until then, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!
For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://somerville.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/9th-grade-victim-raped-with-broomstick-says-prosecutor and http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/09/03/prosecutors-say-somerville-high-school-teens-were-assaulted-with-broom-stick-one-suspect-held-for-dangerousness-hearing/6w0ORGBcRUmbojdZf8f34K/story.html