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Doe v. Commonwealth

Superior Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

January 28, 2016

John Doe et al. Nos. 1-3
v.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts No. 132848

          Filed Date January 29, 2016

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          DENNIS J. CURRAN, Associate Justice.

         The plaintiffs are parents of four children, ages 2 through to 5, who were raped or sexually molested by a state-paid teacher while in the charge of The Children's Center, a child day-care program at Bridgewater State University.

         The defendant Commonwealth of Massachusetts has moved to dismiss the plaintiff parents' complaint. For the following reasons, this motion must be DENIED.

         FACTUAL DISCUSSION

         This lawsuit was brought in equity, seeking information as to an alleged cover-up of the heinous crimes claimed to have been perpetrated on little children. There have been two public records requests to determine the nature and extent of the cover-up. The state has stonewalled those parents' effort.

         Here, a complaint for discovery seeks direct evidence of the defendant Commonwealth's violation of Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972. Such a lawsuit may be maintained " to aid the plaintiff in a suit which he intends immediately to bring . . . if the [complaint] discloses a cause of action." Wolfe v. Massachusetts Port Authority, 366 Mass. 417, 419, 319 N.E.2d 423 (1974).

         In their lawsuit, the plaintiff parents have detailed various past efforts to obtain information to support their allegations and the inadequacy of traditional discovery methods to obtain critical evidence of actual notice by state-employed supervisors of an alleged child molester's predatory actions, their cover-up, and their failure to report the sex crimes to lawful authorities.

         The Commonwealth has moved to dismiss the parents' complaint because it claims that they have failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. But a complaint for discovery has, for over forty years, been recognized as a legally viable method to obtain discovery and falls " within the historic ancillary jurisdiction of the equity court." Wolfe v. Massachusetts Port Authority, 366 Mass. 417, 419, 319 N.E.2d 423 (1974). It is a perfectly appropriate legal means where the plaintiffs plan a cause of action for which information is needed and have alleged facts that justify recourse to a bill of discovery. Wolfe at 422. The children, ages two through 5, cannot speak for themselves; and their parents cannot find out the details regarding their own children's rape and molestation because the state has decided to protect its own employees. The parents of these little children have been thwarted in their effort to substantiate a Title IX action.

         Two of the individuals involved are criminal defendants: one of them is a teacher charged with two counts of rape with force, and indecent assault and battery upon a child; a second, his supervisor, has been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment of children, witness intimidation, the failure to file a section 51A child abuse report, as well as misleading legal authorities. If those criminal defendants were questioned in this pending civil case, they would--properly and without any doubt--invoke their constitutional privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment. The parents' attempt to depose them would be fruitless; the children cannot speak for themselves; and only certain university officials know the depth of criminality that happened and the cover-up that allowed this alleged depravity to occur and fester. That knowledge is uniquely within the state's power to provide.

         But they do not wish to disclose it.

         Instead, they argue what amounts to the legal technicality that the plaintiffs' complaint for discovery does not offer the parents a means of obtaining relief, that the parents have failed to demonstrate the public records statute affords them redress, and that they have not abided by it. But the Commonwealth is dead wrong.

         The record discloses that there have been two public records requests directed at appropriate university officials to find out what happened, i.e., who knew what and when. These are simple requests, and yet the Commonwealth, knowing full well that those two requests to date have been fruitless and an utter waste of time, engages in gamesmanship in continuing to deny these parents the relief to which they are entitled. These families have now been traumatized twice: once by the rape and molestation of their little children, and second, by certain government representatives who appear more concerned with protecting their own employees and preventing the ...


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