The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

15 January 2010

Martha Coakley Called To Account For False Molestation Persecution


Coakley's Victim Comes Forward On Eve Of Senate Vote



On the eve of a crucial US Senate election in Massachusetts, one of Democratic Party Nominee Martha Coakley's victims has come forward with a moving account of the prosecutorial misconduct that led to seventeen undeserved years in prison.

Coakley's role in the imprisonment of Gerald "Tookie" Amirault is all the more inexcusable when one considers that wild accusations of child sex abuse at the Fells Acres Day School were widely discredited by the time she became involved in the case. Even when it was clear Amirault was innocent, Coakley lobbied Acting Governor Jane Swift to keep Tookie behind bars for an extra two years.

To this day, Amirault is forced to wear an ankle bracelet and register as a Level III sex offender, thanks to Martha's selfish cruelty.

Now, Amirault is coming forward to talk about the extra suffering his family faced as a result of Coakley's political grandstanding and prosecutorial misconduct. During an interview today on the Boston based / regionally-syndicated Howie Carr Show, Amirault talked about what he endured and Martha's role in the injustice.

Here are the exclusive Radio Equalizer clips of this afternoon's interview with Tookie:

The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz won an award for her crusading investigative journalism on the Amiraults and the Fells Acres case. In today's edition, she offered this update:

The accusations against the Amiraults might well rank as the most astounding ever to be credited in an American courtroom, but for the fact that roughly the same charges were brought by eager prosecutors chasing a similar headline—making cases all across the country in the 1980s. Those which the Amiraults' prosecutors brought had nevertheless, unforgettable features: so much testimony, so madly preposterous, and so solemnly put forth by the state. The testimony had been extracted from children, cajoled and led by tireless interrogators.

Gerald, it was alleged, had plunged a wide-blade butcher knife into the rectum of a 4-year-old boy, which he then had trouble removing. When a teacher in the school saw him in action with the knife, she asked him what he was doing, and then told him not to do it again, a child said. On this testimony, Gerald was convicted of a rape which had, miraculously, left no mark or other injury. Violet had tied a boy to a tree in front of the school one bright afternoon, in full view of everyone, and had assaulted him anally with a stick, and then with "a magic wand." She would be convicted of these charges. Cheryl had cut the leg off a squirrel.

Other than such testimony, the prosecutors had no shred of physical or other proof that could remotely pass as evidence of abuse. But they did have the power of their challenge to jurors: Convict the Amiraults to make sure the battle against child abuse went forward. Convict, so as not to reject the children who had bravely come forward with charges.

Gerald was sent to prison for 30 to 40 years, his mother and sister sentenced to eight to 20 years. The prosecutors celebrated what they called, at the time "a model, multidisciplinary prosecution." Gerald's wife, Patricia, and their three children—the family unfailingly devoted to him—went on with their lives. They spoke to him nightly and cherished such hope as they could find, that he would be restored to them.

Hope arrived in 1995, when Judge Robert Barton ordered a new trial for the women. Violet, now 72, and Cheryl had been imprisoned eight years. This toughest of judges, appalled as he came to know the facts of the case, ordered the women released at once. Judge Barton—known as Black Bart for the long sentences he gave criminals—did not thereafter trouble to conceal his contempt for the prosecutors. They would, he warned, do all in their power to hold on to Gerald, a prediction to prove altogether accurate.

No less outraged, Superior Court Judge Isaac Borenstein presided over a widely publicized hearings into the case resulting in findings that all the children's testimony was tainted. He said that "Every trick in the book had been used to get the children to say what the investigators wanted." The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly—which had never in its 27 year history taken an editorial position on a case—published a scathing one directed at the prosecutors "who seemed unwilling to admit they might have sent innocent people to jail for crimes that had never occurred."

It was clear, when Martha Coakley took over as the new Middlesex County district attorney in 1999, that public opinion was running sharply against the prosecutors in the case. Violet Amirault was now gone. Ill and penniless after her release, she had been hounded to the end by prosecutors who succeeded in getting the Supreme Judicial Court to void the women's reversals of conviction. She lay waiting all the last days of her life, suitcase packed, for the expected court order to send her back to prison. Violet would die of cancer before any order came in September 1997.

That left Cheryl alone, facing rearrest. In the face of the increasing furor surrounding the case, Ms. Coakley agreed to revise and revoke her sentence to time served—but certain things had to be clear, she told the press. Cheryl's case, and that of Gerald, she explained, had nothing to do with one another—a startling proposition given the horrific abuse charges, identical in nature, of which all three of the Amiraults had been convicted.

No matter: When women were involved in such cases, the district attorney explained, it was usually because of the presence of "a primary male offender." According to Ms. Coakley's scenario, it was Gerald who had dragged his mother and sister along. Every statement she made now about Gerald reflected the same view, and the determination that he never go free. No one better exemplified the mindset and will of the prosecutors who originally had brought this case.

Before agreeing to revise Cheryl's sentence to time served, Ms. Coakley asked the Amiraults' attorney, James Sultan, to pledge—in exchange—that he would stop representing Gerald and undertake no further legal action on his behalf. She had evidently concluded that with Sultan gone—Sultan, whose mastery of the case was complete—any further effort by Gerald to win freedom would be doomed. Mr. Sultan, of course, refused.

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.

That Coakley may be
rewarded for her past misdeeds only serves to revictimize an innocent family.

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  • Thank you for shining a light on this case -- heart-rending, maddening, and unbelievable all at once. If this were a screenplay for a movie, it would be rejected as far too outlandish! But it really happened here in the U.S., and not in the 1780s but in the 1980s! This also shines a light on Martha Coakley's modus operandi: Do whatever is politically expedient, meaning siding against the unfairly accused daycare workers so as not to upset the feminists ... and then later protecting a REAL sexual predator from punishment because of his lucrative political connections. Forget her political stands; this alone renders her unfit for office!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 January, 2010 23:30  

  • The victims in this case should not become the political pawns of either party. Members of both parties supported upholding his conviction (including Governor Jane Swift) over almost two decades. Rabinowitz' account of the case is a one-sided attack on the guilty verdict.

    There were physical findings of abuse in the children and the children showed signs of strong sexualized behaviors after the abuse. The children as adults continue to state they were abused.

    Information on the case from the victims and those that participated in the case can be found at:

    Information on the case :

    Letters to the Editor: The Real Darkness Is Child Abuse WALL STREET JOURNAL (J) 02/24/95 Larry Hardoon's Letter The three Amiraults -- Gerald, Violet and Cheryl – were convicted after two trials before different judges and juries almost one year apart. They were represented by able and well-known defense counsel. The convictions were upheld after review by state and federal appellate cour... in Amirault, the majority of the female children who testified had some relevant physical findings, as did several female children involved in the investigation who did not participate in the trial. The findings included labial adhesions and hymenal scarring of the sort present in a very small percentage of non-sexually abused children....The victims and their families in these cases have been irrevocably harmed by what was done to them by the Amiraults. Every argument raised by Ms. Rabinowitz was ably presented by the defense at the trials. The juries, by their verdicts, rejected these arguments. Justice was done.

    COMMONWEALTH vs. GERALD AMIRAULT. 404 Mass. 221 December 6, 1988 - March 6, 1989 The parents of the child witnesses testified about their children's behavior while, or shortly after, attending Fells Acres. The children complained and cried about the school; they complained of stomachaches, headaches, pain in their genital areas, and bowel problems. They began bedwetting, lost their appetites, had nightmares, used baby talk, became fearful of lights, of men, and of being left alone. The children also displayed sexually explicit behavior; some began masturbating. Two of the boys tried to stick their tongues into their mothers' mouths.

    By Anonymous Amirault was guilty, at 17 January, 2010 16:33  

  • woops, looks like cons are lyinmg again, this time defending a child abuser

    cons will twist anything for a political point

    sick freaks

    By Anonymous Eradicatecons, at 18 January, 2010 17:01  

  • It's quite interesting how the poster above is accusing Wall Street Journal reporter Dorothy Rabinowitz of a "one-sided" attack. Her investigative work on this case earned her a Pulitzer Prize and sparked a number of other exposes, including a PBS Frontline special that was devastatingly effective in its evisceration of the prosecution's findings.

    Ever wonder why cases like Fells Acres and similar ones in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Minnesota have completely disappeared from the courts since the 1980s? It's because all of them were borne out of fantasy and hysteria -- nothing more, nothing less.

    ... Just like the Salem witch trials of 300+ years ago.

    America doesn't need neo-Puritans. And that includes like likes of Coakley and Harshbarger.

    But people like "Amirault Was Guilty" above will continue deluding themselves til they take their last breath. What a complete and utter waste of energy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 January, 2010 23:54  

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