Thursday, 4:30 PM
Man accused of assaulting teen in big brother mentoring program
By Stephanie Ebbert, Globe Staff
A Dorchester man has been accused of sexually assaulting the 13-year-old boy he had befriended over five years in a Big Brother program.
Bryan Horgan, 41, was arraigned on Wednesday on charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, assault with intent to rape a child under 16, and dissemination of matter harmful to minors. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
The allegations that Horgan abused the teen Sunday night were especially troubling to officials at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay because the two had established a trusting relationship over five years together. The program screens heavily for signals that a volunteer could become abusive, said John Pearson, program CEO. He said that when abuse does occur, it typically begins much earlier, while Horgan had known his alleged victim for five years.
"We'll do a thorough review of everything we know about this," Pearson said. "This is a new beginning and it's not a positive one."
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said that Bryan Horgan allegedly brought the boy to his Adams Street home, and after watching TV began asking sexually explicit questions. Horgan allegedly offered the boy lemonade mixed with vodka, which the boy refused, then began showing pornography on TV and sexually assaulted the boy, Wark said.
Prosecutors said the boy resisted Horgan's overtures and told his mother what had happened immediately upon his return home. Boston police arrested Horgan on Tuesday.
"This young victim was very brave to come forward," Conley said in a statement. "Too often, children in his position blame themselves for what others have done to them. We urge anyone who may have a similar experience with this defendant to contact our office or the Boston Police Department so we can help."
According to Conley's office, Horgan issued a plea of not guilty at his arraignment on Wednesday. Prosecutors had sought $250,000 cash bail. Dorchester District Court Judge James Coffey set bail at $100,000 and ordered Horgan to return to court on Aug. 15.
Pearson said that the boy was the first little brother matched to Horgan and that there were no signals of earlier abuse. "The preliminary indication is that this is a first-time act," he said. "There's no indication that he did anything inappropriate with his little brother prior to this time."
However, the prosecutor's office said that investigators, who executed a search warrant on Horgan's home, found photographs of other young teens, and intend to examine his personal computer for any evidence of additional offenses.