Friday, January 15, 2010

The Massachusetts Persecution on False Charges of the Innocent Amirault Family and Democratic Senate Candidate Coakley’s Disgraceful Role in It

About 15 years ago, the Wall Street Journal began a shocking and compelling series of articles by Dorothy Rabinowitz about the truly unbelievable and horrific persecution by numerous Massachusetts authorities of an innocent family on clearly false child-molestation charges (link). The family was a mother, daughter, and son named Amirault who ran the Fells Acres day care center. Rabinowitz’s stories contained about the most powerful writing I have ever read, as she systematically dissected the absurd charges, the biased legal processes, and the despicable and disgraceful conduct of so many of the Massachusetts authorities. I was deeply moved by the tragedy Rabinowitz so carefully related.

Martha Coakley, the Attorney General (no less) of Massachusetts who is now running as the Democratic nominee against Republican Scott Brown in the special election for the US Senate seat formerly held by the late Edward Kennedy, played a significant role in this horrific case. She appeared in it years after the convictions based on non-credible, fantastical manufactured testimony from young children without a shred of physical evidence, but at a time when most sane people, even in Massachusetts, recognized the egregious miscarriage of justice.

Dorothy Rabinowitz writes (link) about this case now once again in the Wall Street Journal:
In 2000, the Massachusetts Governor's Board of Pardons and Paroles … met to consider a commutation of Gerald's sentence. After nine months of investigation, the board, reputed to be the toughest in the country, voted 5-0, with one abstention, to commute his sentence. Still more newsworthy was an added statement, signed by a majority of the board, which pointed to the lack of evidence against the Amiraults, and the "extraordinary if not bizarre allegations" on which they had been convicted. Editorials in every major and minor paper in the state applauded the Board's findings.
District Attorney Coakley was not idle either, and quickly set about organizing the parents and children in the case, bringing them to meetings with Acting Gov. Jane Swift, to persuade her to reject the board's ruling. Ms. Coakley also worked the press, setting up a special interview so that the now adult accusers could tell reporters, once more, of the tortures they had suffered at the hands of the Amiraults, and of their panic at the prospect of Gerald going free. On Feb. 20, 2002, six months after the Board of Pardons issued its findings, the governor denied Gerald's commutation.
Gerald Amirault spent nearly two years more in prison before being granted parole in 2004. He would be released, with conditions not quite approximating that of a free man. He was declared a level three sex offender—among the consequences of his refusal, like that of his mother and sister, to "take responsibility" by confessing his crimes. He is required to wear, at all times, an electronic tracking device; to report, in a notebook, each time he leaves the house and returns; to obey a curfew confining him to his home between 11:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. He may not travel at all through certain areas (presumably those where his alleged victims live). He can, under these circumstances, find no regular employment.
Attorney General Martha Coakley—who had proven so dedicated a representative of the system that had brought the Amirault family to ruin, and who had fought so relentlessly to preserve their case—has recently expressed her view of this episode. Questioned about the Amiraults in the course of her current race for the U.S. Senate, she told reporters of her firm belief that the evidence against the Amiraults was "formidable" and that she was entirely convinced "those children were abused at day care center by the three defendants."
If the current attorney general of Massachusetts actually believes, as no serious citizen does, the preposterous charges that caused the Amiraults to be thrown into prison—the butcher knife rape with no blood, the public tree-tying episode, the mutilated squirrel and the rest—that is powerful testimony to the mind and capacities of this aspirant to a Senate seat….
Wall Street Journal reader Paul McCoy posted this comment to Rabinowitz’s article:
During the time the Amiraults were in jail, there was time to step back from the lynch mob daycare sex hysteria. Dozens of other cases around the country- CA, WA, etc. were prosecuted in exactly the same way, yet in all of those cases there were rational judges and people who stepped in to stop the madness and throw out the cases. So in the wake of the wave of all the other cases being dismissed, here comes Martha [Coakley], despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, despite the overwhelming vote of the parole board, [who] substitutes her own judgement that somehow, despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to a tragic miscarriage of justice, the Amiraults are guilty. She was a political toadie protecting the former prosecutor and now prominent Democratic politician Scott Harshbarger and the other cronies who prosecuted the case. She fought to keep the Amiraults in jail so those politicians wouldn't have to admit to themselves and the public they committed one of the most horrific miscarriages of justice in American judicial history.
What is it about Massachusetts and witch trials? Some people there seem to still relish them, as Martha Coakley, with all this history, won the contested Democrat nomination to run for the Senate just a few short weeks ago. Some Democrat Massachusetts voters apparently don’t mind the egregious miscarriage of justice.

Regardless, there will be a special place in Hell for Martha Coakley and all others from this horrible affair who misused their authority to persecute and destroy three lives for their own political and financial gain.

Dorothy Rabinowitz’s series is available at the Wall Street Journal online here and here.

John M Greco