By DA Rachael Rollins
(The following statement is in regard to the release of a convicted sex offender and rapist in Dorchester through the efforts of the Massachusetts Bail Fund in July. Last week, the DA’s office brought charges against the man for allegedly raping and kidnapping another woman shortly after being bailed by the Massachusetts Bail Fund.)
To the Editor,
Each one of the over 25,000 cases we handle a year is unique and the Office examines many factors in determining how best to proceed in each case. The decision to request bail or move for dangerousness is one of many that requires a careful consideration of what best serves the victim. And to be clear, the alleged rapist isn’t the victim in the case. The person raped is.
Dangerousness under s. 58A requires an evidentiary hearing. There are important victim-centered reasons for not requesting such a hearing and instead requesting bail. Further, the dangerousness statute only allows defendants to be held without bail for a limited period of time, after which they are eligible for release on bail, and only permits prosecutors to request a dangerousness hearing during an arraignment.
What I find interesting about the Bail Fund’s recent behavior of posting higher bails for violent serious crimes – like the alleged rape recently committed by a convicted sex offender and rapist – is that any incentive for good behavior by the alleged offender is removed. When a family member or friend posts bail, there is an added pressure on the defendant. Any violation, whether a new offense or not showing up in court, could result in that family member or friend losing their money that was posted for bail. That’s how the bail statute works. The Bail Fund isn’t a friend or family member of the accused. There is no discussion on the ride home of ‘what the hell are you doing?’ or ‘what in the world have you done?’ There is no pressure applied to the accused by the Bail Fund. Rather, their mantra is ‘Free Them All.’
If this office made a decision to request bail and not a dangerousness hearing to spare the victim of a rape any additional trauma, I can absolutely live with that decision. But bailing out a convicted sex offender and rapist, and then going home, is the act of a coward. So is not making a statement after you make a decision like that. The Bail Fund bailed out Shawn McClinton and he is now accused of raping someone else, in Boston. I would have so much more respect for the Bail Fund if they had bailed him out and then let him stay in one of their homes. Because that’s what family members and friends usually do when they bail a loved one out. Not bail them out, set them loose on a community they don’t live in, and drive back to the safety of their homes.
Rachael Rollins is the Suffolk County District Attorney.