Articles Posted in Court Decisions

In a ruling hailed by survivors of child sexual abuse, the state’s highest court has upheld a 2014 law that gave victims an additional 32 years to file civil lawsuits against alleged perpetrators, according to the Boston Globe.

The Supreme Judicial Court’s unanimous decision also upheld the part of the law that applies the extension to cases that pre-dated the measure’s passage last year.

“It’s just a great, great day for so many survivors,” said Rosanne Sliney, 52, of Burlington, the plaintiff at the center of the ruling.

The Lowell Sun reports that disturbing new allegations have emerged in a human-trafficking case in which a prosecutor says a Lowell man — who is a member of a notorious street gang — had only been out of prison for several weeks when he plied a vulnerable 13-year-old girl with drugs and alcohol, raped her, and then sold her sexual services to more than five other men.

During a dangerousness hearing on Tuesday in Lowell District Court, prosecutor Megan Williams alleges that in October, 23-year-old Michael Feliz, of Lowell, was released after spending three years in prison for armed robbery.

By early November, Feliz had befriended a “vulnerable” 13-year-old girl, supplied her with heroin, cocaine and alcohol, raped her, and then “passed her around,” selling her sexual services to brothers Angel Alicia, 24, and Michael Alicea, 18, both of Lowell.

The Boston Globe reports that the state’s highest court says a state child pornography law does ban an obscene video chat that a 34-year-old man had with a 10-year-old boy in cyberspace.

Jeffery Bundy was convicted of violating the state law that bars people from posing or exhibiting a child in a state of sexual conduct, specifically under the provision of the law that bans using children in “live performances.” He had encouraged the boy to mutually masturbate with him over the Web.

His defense argued, among other things, that there was no “performance” because the act did not take place “before one or more persons.”

A West Brookfield, Mass., man with a prior child pornography conviction was sentenced Jan. 15 in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mass. The sentence is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Massachusetts State Police.

Christopher Boucher, 44, had previously pleaded guilty to possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release with special conditions relating to convicted sex offenders.

In January 2012, Massachusetts State Police detectives executed a state search warrant at Boucher’s former residence in Ware, Mass., and seized a laptop that contained a video depicting multiple rapes of a young girl known as “Vicky.” Boucher then told the police that he used file-sharing programs on the Internet to obtain images of children from 12 to 15-years-old engaged in sexual acts. Boucher also stated that he used the e-Mule file-sharing program to download a child pornography video belonging to the Vicky series.

The Waltham News Tribune reports that a sex abuse claim has been tossed out of Court by a judge who ruled that the statute of limitations had long run, since the victim appreciated back in the 1980s’ that she had been abused.

There are legislative efforts afoot to change the statute of limitations so that victims have a chance to seek compensation in Court against their abusers. The current law provides that plaintiffs must sue within three years of being injured (or three years after reach the age of 18), unless they can prove that they recently discovered the fact of abuse (the “discovery rule”), and then they would have three years from that time to file their case.

A Queens, NY judge has rejected Bob Oliva’s motion to dismiss the $20 million lawsuit filed by a man who was sexually abused by the former Christ the King Regional High School basketball coach.

The decision by Queens Supreme Court Judge Roger N. Rosengarten means the case will go to trial later this year unless Oliva’s attorney, Henry Weil, files an appeal or Oliva reaches a settlement with the plaintiff, Jimmy Carlino.

“The trial will continue to expose Bob Oliva for the sexual predator that he is,” Carlino’s Boston-based attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, told the New York Daily News.

A Suffolk Superior Court judge will decide whether to dismiss a lawsuit against Children’s Hospital Boston, after hearing arguments this week on the suit filed on behalf of 11 people who say they were abused by pediatrician Melvin Levine, when he worked in North Carolina.

Levine, who has been accused of sexually abusing dozens of children during medical treatments, had been an esteemed doctor at Children’s and later became a professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School in Chapel Hill. He committed suicide last February. A class action suit had been filed against him at the time, but Levine had never faced criminal charges stemming from the allegations.

The Boston lawsuit contends that Children’s Hospital could have prevented the abuses alleged in North Carolina if it had reported earlier complaints made about the doctor.

Accused child molester Ernest Lorch, the founder of the prestigious Riverside Church (NY) basketball program, is not competent to be extradited to Massachusetts to stand trial for sexual abuse, a Westchester judge ruled in White Plains, as reported by the Daily News.

State Supreme Court Judge Albert Lorenzo made the ruling after prosecutor Carrie Russell of Massachusetts’ Northwestern District Attorney’s office said at an extradition hearing that she would not contest three experts’ claims that Lorch suffers from dementia.

But Lorch is not off the hook in Massachusetts just yet. Lorenzo said he could review the case in three months. Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said his office will review the case to determine if it should continue its efforts to bring Lorch to Massachusetts to stand trial.

A Massachusetts judge on Friday awarded a total of $3 million to two child sex abuse victims of a former Franciscan priest who served prison time for child molestation in a separate case.

Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders entered the judgment against John Dority, awarding one victim $2 million and the other $1 million. Both were abused in Boston between 1965 and 1971, starting when they were ages 10 and 13.

Their attorney, Carmen Durso, said Sanders said that no amount of money could compensate either victim for their suffering.

Federal Court judge Denise Casper has entered summary judgment for Defendant Cultural Care in a case brought by plaintiff, on behalf of herself and her son, alleging gross negligence, fraud, fraudulent and deceptive business practices in violation of Massachusetts and Illinois law and intentional infliction of emotional distress after an au pair provided by the defendants allegedly sexually abused her son.

Casper ruled that with respect to the allegation of inadequate screening, [plaintiff Jane] Doe presents no evidence that Defendants did not properly screen [au pair Julian] Reyes or that through [defendant] Cultural Care’s screening process, there was any indication that Reyes had any propensity for or had ever engaged in any abusive behavior.

“Doe also alleges Cultural Care failed to conduct a criminal background search. The record shows that this allegation is not true; Cultural Care conducted a background check which revealed that Reyes had no criminal record. …