Campaigns/Elections

Dorothy Rabinowitz on Martha Coakley and the Fells Acres Sex Abuse Cases

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In the Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Rabinowitz, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on dubious sex abuse cases, lays out Martha Coakley's role in the notorious Fells Acres convictions.

Rabinowitz concludes:

Attorney General Martha Coakley—who had proven so dedicated a representative of the system that had brought the Amirault family to ruin, and who had fought so relentlessly to preserve their case—has recently expressed her view of this episode. Questioned about the Amiraults in the course of her current race for the U.S. Senate, she told reporters of her firm belief that the evidence against the Amiraults was "formidable" and that she was entirely convinced "those children were abused at day care center by the three defendants."

What does this say about her candidacy? (Ms. Coakley declined to be interviewed.) If the current attorney general of Massachusetts actually believes, as no serious citizen does, the preposterous charges that caused the Amiraults to be thrown into prison—the butcher knife rape with no blood, the public tree-tying episode, the mutilated squirrel and the rest—that is powerful testimony to the mind and capacities of this aspirant to a Senate seat. It is little short of wonderful to hear now of Ms. Coakley's concern for the rights of terror suspects at Guantanamo—her urgent call for the protection of the right to the presumption of innocence.

If the sound of ghostly laughter is heard in Massachusetts these days as this campaign rolls on, with Martha Coakley self-portrayed as the guardian of justice and civil liberties, there is good reason.

Lefty criminal justice blogger Jeralyn Merritt chimes in here, and states in an earlier post of Coakley, "I wouldn't vote for her for dog catcher."

My article on Coakley's record as a prosecutor here.