Coakley and the Amirault family

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Zach
    Ignored
    says:

    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.

    There is medical physical evidence discussed in the opinion denying Gerald Amirault’s appeal. It’s value is debatable, but it does exist – http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/404/404mass221.html

    There are few anti-Amirault voices out there; it doesn’t seem as cut and dry as Rabinowitz is making it out to be given that numerous superior court judges and the governor refused appeal/commutation. I’d be curious to see someone make a counterargument today.Report

  2. Avatar Amirault was guilty
    Ignored
    says:

    There was physical evidence of child abuse in the Amirault case. The children exhibited extremely sexualized behavior after the abuse. There were strong symptoms indicative of trauma in the children, including regressive behavior, pain in their genital areas and fearfulness. The children as adults have continued to state they were abused by Amirault. A one-sided attack on the Amirault victims helps no one, especially abused children.

    Mass. Victims Fight Commutation Plea By Leslie Miller, Associated Press Writer 8/7/01
    Phaedra Hopkins, 20, said at an emotional news conference. “So many times, Mr. Amirault hovered over me, touched me and hurt me and committed many disgusting acts of abuse.” Those children, now adults, stood by their testimony Thursday.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20010807011330/http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010802/us/preschool_abuse_3.html

    “All nine children testified in a broadly consistent way…The children testified to numerous instances of sexual abuse.”
    “The Commonwealth also presented a pediatric gynecologist and pediatrician who examined five of the girls who testified…She made findings consistent with abuse in four of the girls.”
    http://abusearticles.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/common-vs-amirault-424-mass-618-page-624.jpg

    Letters to the Editor: The Real Darkness Is Child Abuse WALL STREET JOURNAL (J) 02/24/95
    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 courts….
    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.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20010719201703/http://www.vocal-nasvo.org/hardoon.htm

    Witness praises Amirault decision By John Ellement, Globe Staff, 2/23/2002 CAMBRIDGE – Jen Bennett wants to give Acting Governor Jane Swift a bear hug in appreciation, and she wants Gerald Amirault to admit he sexually abused her when she attended the Fells Acres Day Care Center in Malden in the 1980s….He said Amirault supporters are focusing on 2 percent of the children’s claims that ‘’seem inexplicable and they are conveniently ignoring the 98 percent of the case that was overwhelming” against Amirault.” http://web.archive.org/web/20020224045327/http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/054/metro/Witness_praises_Amirault_decision+.shtml

    Swift won’t free Tooky by David R. Guarino and Elisabeth J. Beardsley Wednesday, February 20, 2002 “She carefully analyzed every bit of information generated through the investigation and came to her decision that the verdict was just and the sentence was appropriate.”
    http://web.archive.org/web/20020305205020/http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/local_regional/swif02202002.htmReport

  3. Avatar counterargument
    Ignored
    says:

    Amirault was found guilty and this verdict was upheld several times by both political parties. 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.Report

  4. Avatar Art Deco
    Ignored
    says:

    Looks like Mr. Harshberger’s family reads this blog.Report

  5. Avatar Amirault was guilty
    Ignored
    says:

    No, Attorney Harshbarger hasn’t posted here. Both sides of the story need to be presented. The victims of these crimes have suffered enough and deserve this.

    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.”Report

  6. Avatar Rachel Livermore
    Ignored
    says:

    If the Amiraults did indeed assault the children, and did so to a degree that merited Gerard an 18-year incarceration, then the injuries inflicted would be horrific. Certainly we would expect to have expected some gross rectal and vaginal injuries to have been inflicted – ones that in young children would have required later surgery in life. The police forensic photographer would have had a hard time, and the jury a hard time looking at the photos.

    Oh hang on – no gross injuries were reported, no photos presented. No reconstructive surgery required.

    Apparently, according to the evidence, Gerard was able to insert a kitchen knife into the rectum of a child without causing injury or trauma.

    Now this isn’t unusual ‘evidence’; during the SRA ‘crazy years’ it was sometimes necessary to get around little problems like an absence of physical or forensic evidence in a fairly simple way – either through the mechanism of magic – in this case, with a clown, and a ‘magic room’ – or with the use of paranormal powers (the abuser being in two places at one) or well, seeing as its ‘satanic’, then Satan can be used to explain why there is no injury, or the injuries have mysteriously disappeared (give Michelle Remembers a read).

    If the Amiraults did what they are accused of doing, as some enthusiastic supporters of the religious-fundamentalist obsession of the SRA Myth years still contend, then they did it with some subtlety. And they did it in a way that never managed to match the terrible deforming injuries that ‘real’ abusers commit each and every day and who don’t get 18 years in prison for, in these, our enlightened times.Report

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