Articles Posted in Sexual Assault

A former prep school student faced a lengthy rape trial this summer for an incident that took place just two days prior to his graduation in May of 2014. Owen Labrie, a 19 year old from Tunbridge, Vermont, was facing charges for allegedly raping a 15 year old girl as part of a longstanding tradition at the St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. This tradition, coined as the “Senior Salute” encouraged senior male students at the prestigious prep school to compete in order to see who could have sex with the greatest number of underclassmen females prior to graduation. The entire trial unfolded as a he-said, she-said ordeal stemming from the Senior Salute invitation that Labrie extended to the alleged victim prior to the incident. Owen Labrie maintained that the two never engaged in sexual intercourse, but the unidentified victim has stated that she repeatedly told Owen “No” during various stages of their intimacy. Labrie was found not guilty of the felony rape charges he had been facing, but he is still currently awaiting sentencing on lesser sexual assault charges following the jury’s decision. They believed that Labrie had been lying and that the two did engage in sexual intercourse; an act that was illegal due to the girl’s age at the time of the encounter.

The spotlight surrounding the Labrie case has highlighted an issue that could possibly plague further prep schools in the future. Due to the nature of these schools, experts believe that students who receive their education at a boarding school may be at a greater risk to encounter sexual assaults. The children do not have legal guardians present during after-school hours—they experience a greater level of freedom than children who live at home while they are going to school. As one senior, Thomas Chou, from the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire has stated, “Our parents aren’t with us. We’re living in dorms.” This simple fact has caused a number of prep schools in the surrounding area to reevaluate the plans they have in place to prevent sexual assaults from occurring on their campuses. Continue reading

A woman who suffered a horrific rape in a hotel parking garage in 2009 has been awarded a multi-million dollar verdict from the jury hearing her case. Kira Wahlstrom, who was brutally assaulted in a Boston based Radisson hotel parking garage, had pressed charges against the owners of the hotel and the garage for what happened to her. The jury found that the company that owned the hotel at the time of the attack, JPA, was negligent—and in their negligence they contributed to this assault taking place.

The attack on Kira Wahlstrom occurred shortly after she exited an elevator on her way to her vehicle after work. The man riding the elevator with Ms. Wahlstrom grabbed her by the neck and head and proceeded to drag her into a stairwell where he violently raped her for over 25 minutes. Kira Wahlstrom screamed for help—but no one came to her aid. According to new reports, two security guards were in the lobby of the hotel at the time of the incident but neither of the guards responded to her cries. It was not made immediately clear if they had heard the attack at the time.

Just 12 days prior to the attack Wahlstrom faced, another woman was raped by the same suspect at the same garage. The unidentified woman was an employee for the hotel at the time of the assault. Kira Wahlstrom feels as though it were the duty of the hotel management as well as the management for the parking garage to inform the public about the attack that took place so individuals may be able to protect themselves accordingly. “It could have been prevented,” Wahlstrom has said about her assault. The jury for the case similarly concluded that the owners of the garage were responsible for informing others of the initial attack in order to protect others from suffering the same fate. Continue reading

The victim of a brutal rape at a Boston parking garage was awarded nearly $7, after a jury found the parking garage owner negligent for failing to warn and protect her from a rapist that had attacked another woman in the same garage less than two weeks prior.

Kira Wahlstrom was attacked back in 2009. “It means the world. It really does,” she told 5 Investigates’ Karen Anderson. “I had justice.”

The Suffolk County jury awarded Wahlstrom $4 million, which with interest, increased the award to more than $6.6 million. The verdict was decided after jury members found JPA, the former owners and managers of the Boston parking garage next to the Radisson hotel, were negligent.

“It could have been prevented,” Wahlstrom said to 5 Investigates. “It never had to happen.”

The jury did clear the garage, currently LAZ Parking, of any negligence. LAZ Parking was contracted to assist with management of the garage. The rapist, Jose Ruben Rivera III, pleaded guilty to both assaults.

Wahlstrom and her attorney, Don Keenan, hope this the case sheds more light on security issues and will increase security in Boston parking garages. They have already contacted the mayor’s office and Boston City Council to address the issue.

“We need to have better parking garage security, whether it be cameras or one person on every floor. They need to do something so that people are safe when they go there,” Wahlstrom said.

Continue reading

A woman is suing the New England Institute of Art in Brookline for Massachusetts personal injury. The woman said that because of inadequate security at the New England Institute of Art, an intruder was able to go into her dorm and sexually assault her. Also a defendant is Anwar Faisal, the owner of the building where the crime happened.

The plaintiff said that a male who wasn’t a student at the institute sexually assaulted her after a security guard let the nonresident into the building. She said that the man tried to forcibly rape her in her dorm room. The man has since been arrested and charged with indecent assault and battery.

In her Brookline, MA college student crimes complaint, the woman says she sustained serious psychological and physical injuries, which has hurt her ability to work. She is seeking compensation for her injuries and suffering.

Continue reading

A 49-year-old woman will get a $1.1 million in her clergy sex abuse lawsuit against the late Rev. Thomas Shea. The plaintiff, Jane Doe 2, claims that the clergyman sexually assaulted her over 60 times. The settlement was reached with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, just as the case was about to go to trial.

Jane Doe 2 said that Shea, who is now deceased, started molesting her when she was a toddler and continued to assault her for years. She is not the only one.

Continue reading

A graduate of Boston College is suing the university, claiming that the school violated its own polices and federal anti-discrimination laws because of the way it handled the sex assault allegations against him. It was in 2012 that college officials charged John Doe with the sexual assault of a female student during a student boat cruise.

The school, based on its probe, found the plaintiff responsible for indecent assault and battery and he was suspended for three semesters. The student also was charged with the crime in Suffolk County District Court, but that case was thrown out last year because of video and physical evidence exonerated him.

Now, John Doe’s family wants $3 million in damages, expungement of his record, and a permanent injunction against Boston College, mandating that it must comply with Title IX, which requires gender equity on campus.

Continue reading

Johnny Powell II, who recently graduated from Stevenson University, is suing the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity for $4 million. The 22-year-old claims that the members of the historically black fraternity house beat him so brutally that he needed hospital care for several days. He also is claiming false imprisonment and hazing, which allegedly occurred in early 2013.

Even though there are typically rituals that are considered traditional aspects of pledging activities in most fraternities, Powell said that the beating he was given was extremely severe and he was struck, “caned, and paddled” on numerous occasions. He also contends that he was forced to drink alcohol with garlic powder and perform push-ups while there were beer bottle caps under his hands, among other acts. Even though he eventually became a fraternity member at Coppin State University-Powell joined the chapter there because his initial intention was to start one at Stevenson University-he claims that other members alienated him.

He is seeking damages from the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, current and ex-officers with the Coppin chapter, as well as the alumni chapter in the Baltimore area.

Another student has come forward accusing Emerson College of mishandling her Boston sexual assault case. The plaintiff, identified in the Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit as Jane Doe, claims that the school and six administrators did not “promptly and appropriately” respond to her assault and that her Title IX rights were violated. The woman is seeking damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

The plaintiff says that she reported the alleged assault, which she says was committed by an Emerson student and an MIT student, in 2012. The Emerson College Police Department, the Cambridge Police Department, and the Boston Police Department conducted investigations. She says she chose not to press charges because a resident director at Emerson suggested that she not.

Now, she is accusing the college of inappropriately handling her case, including breaching her confidentiality by telling her mom and suitemate about the assault without her consent, discouraging her from reporting the fellow Emerson student’s alleged involvement, not making any attempts to transfer that student off her dorm floor, as well as other mishandlings.

A judge says that Stephen Embry can go ahead with his lawsuit against Harvard University. The 57-year-old Billerica man’s Boston child sex abuse case was dismissed over a year ago, before a new Massachusetts bill extending the statute of limitations for such cases was passed into law.

According to Embry, when he was 12, swimming coach Benn Merritt raped and molested him. The sexual assaults allegedly occurred over 100 times and went on for three years. Embry says the incidents usually took place at the Harvard pool where Merritt was a coach.

He contends that Harvard misled him about how long he had to file a Boston sexual abuse claim, telling him the assaults occurred too long ago. Embry says that the school did not disclose that another claim was brought against it in 1996 involving Merritt. The plaintiff in that case contended that the swim teacher molested him from 1965 to 1970, beginning when he was 11. Merritt killed himself not long after that case was filed. The lawsuit with him was settled. The one against Harvard was dismissed.

A number of ex-students of Fessenden School reportedly intend to file a Massachusetts child sex abuse case against several teacher and their supervisors. The Newton sex abuse incidents allegedly occurred at the all boys boarding school between 1968 and 1976 and involved male victims who were ages 10 to 14 at the time.

It was in 2011 that David B. Stettler, the headmaster of school, sent a letter to faculty, alumni, and parents disclosing that over the past few years, there had been two legal complaints accusing assistant headmaster Arthur Clarridge and his friend of child sex abuse. The plaintiffs said they were ages 10 and 13 respectively when they were sexually violated. One of them settled his case with the school.

In a recent internal probe, the school found out about at least two other alumni who had submitted Massachusetts child sexual abuse complaints involving allegations that would have occurred in the ’70s and 60’s. Other students also made claims that were never officially reported.

Contact Information