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Former top prosecutor to lead review of Somerville schools' overnight trip policy in the wake of rape allegations

Posted by Your Town  September 25, 2013 06:20 PM

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The former top prosecutor in Middlesex County will head a review of Somerville’s school travel policy after an alleged rape of a student on a school-sanctioned trip in August.

Gerard Leone, who left his job as Middlesex district attorney in April, will chair the School Safety and Security Review Committee in Somerville, which will review current policies for school-sanctioned trips and recommend changes.

The decision to review school policy came within weeks of alleged attacks during an overnight team-building trip to a camp in Western Massachusetts attended by the high school soccer and football teams.

Three members of the junior varsity boys soccer team allegedly raped a freshman teammate with a broomstick, assaulted others and threatened witnesses during the trip on Aug. 24 and 25. School officials previously said the incident occurred within yards of adult coaches.

Leone was selected to lead the review by Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi, who had worked with him both in his role as district attorney and as chairman of the Middlesex Partners for Youth, a non-profit that aids schools in crime prevention.

“It was in that vein, and because of his area of expertise in youth health issues and safety, that I asked Mr. Leone to chair this committee,” Pierantozzi said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Leone’s appointment was approved without objection by the Somerville School Committee Sept. 23.

“I am pleased to Chair and collaborate with Somerville’s School Safety and Security Review Committee as we assess the present policies and practices of the public schools, to continue the city’s ongoing commitment to providing a healthy, safe and secure environment for students,” Leone said in a prepared statement.

Leone has been a partner at the law firm Nixon Peabody since he left office.

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