Yet another sex offender has been released from custody amid measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
According to WBUR, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger ordered Glenn Christie, a 54-year-old man convicted of repeatedly raping a 12-year-old boy to be released from the medium-security Massachusetts Treatment Center for the “sexually dangerous” last Friday.
Christie, who uses a wheelchair, suffers from health conditions that can make him vulnerable to coronavirus, including hypothyroidism and possible thyroid cancer, kidney disease and spinal stenosis. He was released on the condition of testing negative.
A report by Salem News states that Christie was convicted of child rape and indecent assault on a child under 14, for which he served his sentence. Christie was being held on several probation violations, including missing a meeting with his probation officer, being suspended from his sex offender treatment program and violating the terms of his GPS monitoring.
Christie was sentenced to return to state prison for one to two years—which his lawyer, David Rangaviz, contested. Although that request was denied, the Supreme Judicial Court ordered the judge to revisit it last Wednesday in light of the pandemic and more than a dozen reported cases at the Massachusetts Treatment Center.
“The health risks to a person in custody caused by the pandemic constitute changed circumstances,” entitling Christie to a new hearing, Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote. “We also conclude that, in conducting that (new) review, a judge must give careful consideration not only to the risks posed by releasing the defendant—flight, danger to others or to the community, and likelihood of further criminal acts—but also, during this pandemic, to the risk that the defendant might die or become seriously ill if kept in custody.”
Two inmates at the facility, including one of Christie’s roommates, have died of coronavirus, according to Rangaviz.
Rangaviz began filing motions for Christie’s release weeks ago, arguing that preventing the spread of coronavirus in jails and prisons is virtually impossible.
“I wish I wasn’t right,” Rangaviz told WBUR. “This was a foreseeable disaster if anyone cared enough to start acting quickly.”
Judge Brieger also ordered a select group of state prisoners to be released in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus into prison populations. The judgment applies only to pre-trial detainees not charged with certain violent offenses and those held on technical probation and parole violations, each of which are now eligible for hearings to determine if they can be released.
There are no words for the kind of society that is too cowardly to properly punish those who prey on children. We are weepin for this nation.
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