Accused of Sexual Assault Years Later: Dan’s Story
When Dan came to our office for assistance, he was 18 years old. He had just been accused of rape. The allegations had just come to light but were supposed to have happened seven years earlier when Dan was just eleven years old and his victim was five years old. Because Dan was no longer a juvenile, in Massachusetts the court is required to conduct a transfer hearing to determine if the charges should proceed. This involves a two-step inquiry to determine (1) whether there was probable cause to support the charges; and (2) whether the continuation of the charges was in the interest of the public justice. If the charges had been continued, Dan would have been tried as an adult even though the alleged crime happened when he was a child. Our firm was successful in demonstrating to the Court that the continued prosecution was not in the interests of justice.
Dan’s behavior from age 11 to age 18 was particularly relevant to the Court’s decision. Around the same time that Dan committed the subject offense, it was also complained of that he had committed a similar offense while in New Hampshire at the family’s vacation camp. This incident had been promptly reported to Dan’s mother. She immediately removed her son from the camp and had him evaluated. Thereafter, he engaged in intensive counseling for more than two years. Dan’s actions during this time showed that he had become a fine, upstanding young man and posed a very low risk that he would re-offend. Dan went on to graduate high school, maintain regular employment, and he hoped to join the Navy. Dan never had any serious disciplinary issues in school, no other criminal charges, and was in an age-appropriate committed relationship for two years. We had Dan evaluated by a forensic psychologist, whose opinion was that he was at a very low risk to re-offend. This opinion was supported by Dan’s treating psychologist.
I am proud of this case because had we not been successful, this young man’s life would have been ruined. Although, he may have committed the offense, he had rehabilitated himself in the intervening period. He was living his life in a dignified and respectful manner when the charges were filed. If the charges continued, he would have been tried in the adult Court with the attendant penalties. Such penalties may have included, State Prison, and most certainly would have included registering as a sex offender. This would be a particularly harsh result for something that occurred when he was age eleven. Further, he could not have received such a harsh punishment if the charges had been promptly reported and he was tried as a juvenile. Allowing these charges to proceed served no public safety interest and would have derailed all of Dan’s efforts. I am happy that I could do my part to help Dan. However, I do believe the facts illustrate that he and his mother did most of the hard work.
Contant Law defends juvenile cases in Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties including the following courts: Brookline Juvenile Court | Cambridge Juvenile Court | Chelsea Juvenile Court | Dorchester Juvenile Court | Essex County Juvenile Court | Lawrence Juvenile Court | Lowell Juvenile Court | Lynn Juvenile Court | Middlesex County Juvenile Court | Newburyport Juvenile Court | Salem Juvenile Court | Suffolk Juvenile Court | Waltham Juvenile Court | West Roxbury Juvenile Court