QUINCY -- A 15-year-old girl was forced to have sex with men who paid between $100 and $150 to Norman S. Barnes, a Dorchester man accused of kidnapping the girl and forcing her to become his sex slave for 10 days, officials alleged today.FULL ENTRY
Haitians who fled the earthquake-ravaged nation last year will be eligible to apply for special immigration status that allows them to live and work legally in the United States for a fixed amount of time, US immigration officials announced today.
The move extending so-called temporary protected status to those who fled the disaster marks a major shift for federal officials, who had resisted granting it to thousands of Haitians, in part to discourage a life-threatening mass migration by sea.
Until now, only Haitians who were already in the United States before the quake had been eligible to apply for the special status, leaving those who arrived afterward with few options. Many ended up overstaying their visas and becoming homeless.
The announcement comes days after Haiti inaugurated a new president.
Under their new status, the Haitians who came after the quake will enjoy the protected status until Jan. 22, 2013. The government also gave the 18-month extension to Haitians who came to the US before the quake. It had been set to expire in July.
"Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this administration's continuing efforts to support Haiti's recovery,'' Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said in a statement.
The estimated 10,000 people who had fled after the quake on visitor visas, which they overstayed because they had no jobs or homes to return to, ended up crowded into relatives' homes or homeless and living in motels, as the Globe reported in January.
About 48,000 Haitians, who had been living in the United States before the quake, obtained TPS afterward.
Haitian immigrants and advocates cheered the news with tears and hugs today. Most had spent the past year and four months in limbo, descending into poverty while the reconstruction stalled in their homeland, leaving them nothing to return to.
Nonprofit groups such as Catholic Charities assisted them with English classes and other aid. Yesterday, an official with the charity said the announcement would transform their lives.
"We are all ecstatic," said Marjean A. Perhot, director of refugee and immigration services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston. "I ran down the hall I was so excited. We are so thrilled, so thankful. Today has made the lives of thousands of Haitians hundreds of times better."
In Brockton, where in January the Globe revealed that many Haitian families who fled the quake had ended up homeless and living in motels, Judeline Manigat hailed the news as a lifesaver for her husband and 6-year-old daughter, who arrived after the quake. With him unable to work, the couple ended up living in the Quality Inn in Brockton.
"Good! That's good," Manigat said. "I'm very happy."
Temporary protected status is a discretionary tool that the Homeland Security secretary uses in cases of emergencies to allow people from a nation torn by war or disaster to receive temporary safe haven in the United States until the US government deems that it is safe for them to return.
People must apply and pay fees in exchange for permission to live and work in the United States.
The earthquake ravaged Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, destroying most government buildings and killing an estimated 230,000. Hundreds of thousands of people are still homeless, and a cholera outbreak there has killed more than 4,800 people.
Boston Fire Department
An early-morning fire at two triple-deckers in Mattapan displaced 25 people and caused an estimated $400,000 in damage, Boston fire officials said.
No one was injured in the fire, which was reported shortly before 6 a.m. on the third floor of 15 Woolson St. and jumped across to 19 Woolson, said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.
Investigators determined an electrical short circuit in a third-floor bedroom at 15 Woolson St. sparked the blaze, he said.
The Red Cross and mayor's office are assisting the people who were able to flee the buildings after they were awakened by smoke alarms.
“Someone was banging on my door before six,” Tiarah Thomas, 24, said, still wearing her pajamas and standing on the steps of her neighbors’ home across the street.
Thomas was just starting to wake when she heard commotion in the hallway. At first, she didn’t think much of it “because it’s always noisy.” But, then came the banging, and her teenage neighbor screamed, “Fire!”FULL ENTRY
A naked man eluded police for over an hour in Dorchester Monday evening, as scores of officers and state troopers descended on the area to search for the au natural fugitive.
It all began with a traffic stop gone awry at about 5:30 p.m., when police pulled over a car with three men inside, said Boston police spokesman officer Eddy Chrispin. After observing one of the men behaving suspiciously, police ordered him out of the car and discovered he had a handgun, Chrispin said. The man began to struggle with officers, and the other two men sped off. The suspect ended up shedding his clothes and gun in the struggle, and fled the scene, Chrispin said.
The disrobed outlaw was identified as Peterson Joseph, 27, of Everett. He was charged with resisting arrest, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, trespassing, and multiple weapons charges, Chrispin said. Joseph is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Dorchester District Court.FULL ENTRY
By Aaron Lester, Globe Correspondent
Boston Police have arrested a man believed to be responsible for a string of commercial robberies in numerous Boston neighborhoods.
Officers apprehended the suspect, Michael Gomes, 35, of Boston on Friday after hearing of a tip that the man was at a Woodgate Street residence in Mattapan. Once there, officers saw the suspect hiding in an upstairs bedroom, the department said in a statement.
After a lengthy discussion, officers were able to convince Gomes to exit the Mattapan residence, where he was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon from a prior outstanding warrant.
Officers found a imitation firearm on the scene matching descriptions from several of the robbery victims, according to Officer Eddy Chrispin.
Police think Gomes is connected to a rash of robberies in the past month including incidents at convenience stores and gas stations in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan and South Boston since March 3, Chrispin said.
A Revere man was sentenced to life in prison today after admitting in a Boston courtroom that he participated in the 2009 murder of an innocent bystander in Dorchester.
Abiona Sharpe appeared in Suffolk Superior Court where he pleaded guilty to charges of second degree murder for the May 13, 2009 shooting of Freddie Bing, who was 49 years old when he was killed. Sharpe, 21, will be eligible parole after serving 15 years. He also pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 2.5 years.
Sharpe admitted that he opened fire with a .22 caliber rifle on Wilcock Street in retaliation for the murder of 16-year-old Terrence Jacobs, who was savagely attacked on Wilcock Street in 2007. Four men have since been sentenced to life imprisonment for Jacobs' killing.
Sharpe’s co-defendant, 18-year-old Damante Burrell, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and gun charges two weeks ago, according to Suffolk prosecutors. He is serving up to 25 years in state prison.FULL ENTRY
A Boston police officer driving his car to work collided with a Boston fire truck this afternoon in Mattapan.
Boston Fire Department Ladder 29 was on its way to a reported car accident, and had its lights and siren activated at about 3:40 p.m. When it reached the intersection of Harvard and Morton streets, it crashed with a silver sport utility vehicle driven by the police officer, said Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the fire department.
State Police said today they have captured another man who was on the agency’s list of top 10 most wanted sex offenders.
Samuel Harper Jr., 46, was captured by New Jersey State Police in an apartment in Long Beach, N.J., based on information developed by Massachusetts troopers, police said. Harper is the fifth person on the Top 10 list who has been arrested by State Police since they released the list two weeks ago.
Harper is expected to appear in Ocean City Superior Court today where he has been charged as a fugitive from justice. If he agrees to return without a court battle, Massachusetts State Police Sergeant Rick Hunter and Trooper John Strazzullo, who tracked Harper down, are already in New Jersey ready to transport him back to the state.
Harper is wanted out of the Roxbury Municipal Court and the Lawrence District Court for failure to register as a sex offender. He listed as a Level 3 sex offender by the Sex Offender Registry Board. He was convicted in 1993 of multiple counts of rape of a child with force and assault with intent to commit rape, according to the board.
An herbal store owner in Mattapan shot and wounded an alleged robber who had threatened him with a hammer last night.
Police said Raymond Sims, 47, is in serious condition at Boston Medical Center and is expected to survive after the shooting at Essential Body Herbs at 1282 Blue Hill Ave.
Sims is expected to be charged with armed robbery and being an armed career criminal, police said.
Sims was found in front of the store, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, about 7:05 p.m.FULL ENTRY
A man was shot in the back and shoulder in Mattapan this morning, police said.
The man was shot shortly after 9 a.m. this morning at 60 Goodale Road, said Officer Eddy Chrispin, a police spokesman.
Authorities said they received a call saying the man was shot while he was taking out the trash.
Boston emergency medical workers are evaluating the victim. No arrests have been made in the case.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more