PITTSFIELD — A district court judge today ruled that a Somerville High School student accused of raping a freshman with a broomstick during a team building trip in Otis is not a danger to society, and he can be safely released on bail while awaiting trial.
Judge Fredric D. Rutberg, after reading a 40-page State Police affidavit, ruled from the bench that Berkshire County prosecutors did not provide “clear and convincing’’ evidence that Galileo Mondol was so dangerous that he needed to be jailed for the next 90 days.
Rejecting Berkshire Assistant District Attorney Rachel Eramo’s request that Rutberg order Mondol held without bail, the judge ruled that bail remain at $100,000 cash. The money was paid and Mondol was freed by late afternoon from the Berkshire jail where he was being held.
Outside the courthouse, defense attorney William Korman said Mondol was thrilled.
“The notion that the Commonwealth would even hold a dangerousness hearing on a case like this, with evidence this thin, is patently absurd,’’ Korman said. “We’re grateful and thankful the judge saw through that.’’
Mondol is one of three Somerville High students charged with sexually assaulting three high school freshman during the weekend of Aug. 24-25 at Camp Lenox in Otis, where some 165 Somerville students, along with 20 adult supervisors, were participating in the preseason sports program.
At 17 years old, Mondol’s case is proceeding in open court while his two codefendants are currently being prosecuted behind the closed doors of Berkshire Juvenile Court.
Mondol has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Rutberg also imposed an 11 p.m. curfew, barred Mondol from having contact with victims or witnesses in the case, and ordered him to surrender his passport. He was not ordered to wear GPS monitoring equipment.
Korman, who insists that Mondol will be completely exonerated, lamented that Mondol had been the subject of media scrutiny while the two juvenile defendants in the case go unnamed.
“I think it’s unfair that … [Mondol’s] name is put out there, and his face is on television while the juvenile codefendants, especially the ones who are far more culpable than him, get to hide behind that cloak of anonymity,’’ he said. “Unfortunately, that’s the way the law is written.’’
Mondol, shackled at his ankles and wrists, entered Central Berkshire District Court looking solemn as a group of family members watched intently from a nearby bench. Although Mondol’s father held his eyes shut at several times during the hearing, the teen’s family has refrained from any outbursts or overt displays of emotion during two hearings this week.
Korman said Mondol’s family is hoping to raise the $100,000 cash from family and colleagues in hopes of freeing Mondol over the weekend. During the hearing, Korman said Somerville High School was in the process of expelling Mondol, and had already banned him from attending any school athletic events.
In court today, Eramo summarized the accounts of six victims and witnesses of the alleged assault, all freshman soccer players, acknowledging that they vary slightly in their details.
“Of the six people who had the best view of what occurred on this particular day, it is more than fair to say that every story doesn’t match up exactly,’’ Eramo said in court. “That would be typical of any situation where you have multiple witnesses and something as traumatic and as disturbing and as hurtful as the one that is alleged to have occurred here.’’
Only one of the six freshman — identified only as “Victim 2,’’ who was assaulted but not raped — told investigators Mondol physically helped another defendant rape a freshman soccer player with a broomstick, Eramo said. But other witnesses said Mondol was present and encouraged the abuse.
She also admitted that the rape victim — identified only as “Victim 1’’ — told investigators Mondol was not physically involved in the assault.
Still, she argued, Mondol should be held in jail because of what she described as his “cruel conduct’’ and the fact that the victims were juveniles.
“This is an act that was in no way deserved, in no way solicited, in no way provoked,’’ Eramo said in court. “The purpose of this camp was to help the soccer team become like a family. … What happened instead is this defendant took it upon himself with his two codefendants to enter the freshman cabin and do harm — not only physical harm, but a good deal of emotional harm.’’
The victims were all members of the school’s junior varsity boys’ soccer team, officials have said.
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