Somerville Teen Can Post Bail In Otis Rape Case
Updated Friday, September 6, 2013.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — One of three Somerville students accused of raping a teen with a broom in Otis has the right to post bail.
Central Berkshire District Court Judge Frederic Rutberg denied a petition on Friday calling for Galileo Mondol, 17,to be held without bail. Mondol is now being held on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail. If he posts bail, he is ordered not to have any contact either direct or indirect with any of the victims or witnesses, he be not able to attend Somerville High School and must abide by an 11 p.m. curfew.
Mondol has previously pleaded not guilty to three counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, three counts of intimation of a witness, two counts of assault with intent to rape a child under 16 and single counts of aggravated rape of a child under 16 and indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained 14 years of age.
He is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington on Oct. 3
Mondol is accused of entering the cabin of freshman students at Camp Lenox in Otis and assaulting three male victims.
Updated Tuesday, September 3, 2013.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. - A Somerville High School student pled not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court Tuesday on allegations that he and two others raped younger students at Camp Lenox in Otis.
Galileo Mondol, 17, had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of intimidation of a witness, three counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault with intent to rape a child under the age of 16 and single counts of aggravated rape of a child under the age of 16 and indecent assault and battery on a child who has attained 14 years of age.
Mondol was attending the camp as part of a school program for team-building activities for the fall sports teams. On Sunday August, 25, Mondol is accused of going into a cabin occupied by freshman students and sexually assaulting three youths. Mondol is one of three students facing charges; the other two are juveniles and their names have not been released.
Judge Philip Beattie ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail. Mondol is expected back in court on Friday for a dangerousness hearing.
According to the Boston Globe, prosecutors say the three varsity soccer players went into the cabin and raped one freshman with a broom. Two other students were able to fight off the attacks but were still sexually assaulted. However, Mondol's attorney, William Korman says the students tried to end the assaults.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three Somerville high school juniors have been arrested by state police in connection with a sexual assault in Otis over the weekend.
Galileo Mondol, 17, and two 16-year-old boys were arrested on Friday by state police assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office.
District Attorney David F. Capeless said the assault occurred at Camp Lenox, which the city of Somerville had rented as a facility for team-building for its fall sports teams at Somerville High School. The teens are reportedly members of the varsity soccer team.
The defendants allegedly entered a cabin occupied by freshman on Sunday, Aug. 25, and assaulted three victims.
Mondol is being charged with single counts of aggravated rape of a child under 16 and indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained 14 years of age; two counts of assault with intent to rape a child under 16 and three counts of each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and intimidation of a witness.
He is being held on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail pending arraignment Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court. Capeless said the juveniles, whose names are being withheld at this point because of their age, will be arraigned in Berkshire Juvenile Court on similar charges.
The investigation is being conducted by state police assigned to the Berkshire and Middlesex district attorneys office and the Somerville Police Department.
According to Boston.com, school officials were apprised of the incident on Tuesday and contacted police. School Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi told media at news conference in Somerville that 161 athletes and 19 adult supervisors were at the camp.
Pierantozzi, High School Headmaster John J. Oteri and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, in a joint statement, thanked the Berkshire DA's office and state police for "their speed and diligence" in the investigation.
"We will continue to provide any resources and information the district attorney's office requires as this investigation continues. Right now we are focused on continuing to provide the support services to students, parents and our community needed for Somerville to come together and heal."
Capeless, in a statement, said the Somerville school authorities and coaches "acted quickly and appropriately when they became aware of these allegations" and he thanked Somerville Police and others for their cooperation and assistance.
Camp Lenox is privately run residential summer camp for boys and girls that offers sports, outdoors activities and arts. It's been in operation for more than 90 years. It rents the facility before and after the 8-week summer program.
Pittsfield Councilor Charged With Drug Violation
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A sitting city councilor is accused of alerting drug dealers to police raids.
According to the Berkshire Eagle, Paul Capitanio pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Tuesday to conspiracy to possess oxycodone and being an accessory after the fact. The paper reports that police accuse Capitanio of alerting dealers as a way to maintain an oxycodone habit.
The councilor's attorney, Timothy Shugrue, said his client denied the charges and that he had an oxycodone addiction.
Capitanio, who owns the East Side Cafe, has represented Ward 3 since being first elected in 2009; he is not standing for election this year.
The Eagle reports that Capitanio had been arrested by state police on Friday and is currently out on $500 bail.
Pittsfield Police Believe Body That of Missing Man
Update: Aug. 20 at 6:33 p.m.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities have confirmed that the body found in the woods near Pittsfield Cemetery is Michael Gokey, who had been missing since Aug. 6.
The state medical examiner's officer identified the body on Tuesday. The body was found in the woods on Aug. 13 by a state police cadaver K-9. A cause of death has not been made but authorities do not suspect foul play.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police believe a body found Tuesday afternoon in a wooded area west of the Pittsfield Cemetery is a missing city man.
Police had been searching the area for 21-year-old Michael Gokey who was last seen Tuesday, Aug. 6. A positive identification should be completed in the next few days after an autopsy conducted by the office of the chief medical examiner.
Authorities do not suspect foul play.
The body of a white man apparently in his 20s was found by a state police cadaver K-9 at about 2:30 p.m. in the vicinity of Vin Hebert Boulevard. Investigators believe the body is that of the Highland Avenue resident based upon evidence at the scene and information acquired during the investigation.
Gokey was last seen early Tuesday morning at his home. He was known to hike trails behind Lake Onota Village and St. Joseph's Cemetery. He was described as standing 5-feet-10 and weighing 165 pounds with blue eyes and blond hair. He was wearing a shirt, brown shorts and hiking boots.
Police said he had a distinctive tattoo of a snake and skull on his right shoulder and a red cross on his right forearm.
Pittsfield Responders Recover Drowning Victim
Giant sandbags were used to stop the flow of water down the spillway and instead redirect the flow into another pipe.
Update, Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. : The body of a drowning victim in the Housatonic River near the Mill Street dam was recovered after responders sandbagged the pipe's intake, alleviating the water flow that was pinning the body to grating inside the pipe.
The recovery came more than 24 hours after the man was reported missing in the river at 11:40 a.m. on Tuesday.
"After conferring with engineers and DPW, utilizing resources — Wahconah Welding for their crane operations and Roto-Rooter for their underwater cameras — we were able to sandbag the area, which alleviated the suction on the tube and we were able release the body," Deputy Fire Chief Michael Polidoro said Wednesday afternoon. "Our divers recovered him within less than a minute."
Police have now taken control of the body. The victim, said to be in his late teens or early 20s, has not been indentified but was reportedly from Los Angeles.
Wednesday morning, firefighters, police, private companies and city Highway Department workers were on scene working with engineers from the state to derive the sandbag idea. The body was being held against the grate by the high pressure of the water and the sandbags were placed in a position to reroute the flow through another pipe.
The night before, workers were unable to slow the pressure with the use of a steel plate nor were they able to simply pull the body out. The pressure was too much for divers to go into the spillway.
"We operate on safety factor. We made sure everything was in place and in the process no one would get hurt," Polidoro said.
The American Red Cross and Hinsdale Fire Department were providing rehab.
Update: 9:45 p.m. Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said the body is too tied up with debris to be removed from the pipe at this time and responders will return in the morning with a new plan.
"We felt we've done all we could tonight," he said, adding that responders have been on the scene for more than 10 hours.
Crews first tried to lower a steel plate over an intake to slow the river speed but that was unsuccessful. Then, firefighters had tried to pull the body out but it was too tangled in debris. The cameras being used are not able to capture the full picture in the turbulent water.
"We just can't get a vision to see what may be hanging him up," Czerwinski said. "We're not sure how we're going to be able to pull him back out of it."
A line is tethered to the body for responders to find its location in the morning and police will secure the scene throughout the night. Czerwinski said he hopes to be back on scene by 9 a.m., after a planning meeting to determine the next steps.
Update at 8:30 p.m.: A steel plate has failed to reduce water pressure and responders are developing another plan to retrieve the body.
A lighting system was brought to the scene and installed allowing the responders to work at night. However, it is unclear how long they will stay on scene.
Update: Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski reported at 6 p.m. that the body of a man believed to have drowned in the Housatonic River had been located.
"The victim, we feel, has been located, caught up against a grating in the bottom of the river," he said. "We trying right now to relieve pressure so we can recover that body sometime in the next hour."
Responders used a camera to find the body and were planning to lower a 5 by 8 steel plate by crane onto a vertical intake line upstream in an effort to reduce the pressure in the system so it will release body.
Czerwinski said the work and weather would determine how long it would take.
The sheriff's department was also on the scene, and the fire chief noted that Roto-Rooter and Wahconah Welding had aided in the effort.
"We have tremendous support from the outside helping us in this operation," he said.
The identity of the victim, a man in his late teens or early 20s, has not been confirmed. He reportedly had the nickname "Raccoon."
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Emergency crews have been working since noontime to recover the body of a swimmer who was believed trapped in the Mill Street dam.
Three people were reportedly swimming in the Housatonic River when a current pulled one of them into a spillway pipe inside of the dam at 11:40 a.m. The body had become trapped inside of that pipe.
"We have a victim who was last seen at the spillway at the end of the Mill Street dam," said Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro on Tuesday afternoon. "We believe he was sucked into the actual spillway and is trapped in that configuration of piping."
The man, reported to be in his late teens or early 20s, was last seen by the two other swimmers at the scene near the spillway. Police were working on identifying him. A woman who was in the water with him said she had was holding onto him but lost her grip, then was able to grab onto a rock.
Emergency responders, including the state police and Pittsfield technical dive teams had arrived at the site but Polidoro said conditions made it difficult to determine where the swimmer was and to get him out.
"We're trying to reduce the flow of the water into that location," he said, adding that the turbulence hampered use of underwater cameras. "It's too hazardous a condition for both city divers or Massachusetts State Police diver to enter because of the hydraulic pressures in the water."
Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski confirmed shortly afterward that the flow of water from the Housatonic, swelled by recent rains, was too fast and heavy to risk using divers.
The swimmer was believed to have been caught up in the turbulence and sucked down into a sluice or pipe and possibly caught on a grating.
Polidoro said the configuration of pipes and sluices in the waters under the dam, which was first built to power the former Eaton Mill, were complicated. Owners of the mill had provided a set of blueprints from the 1930s but they appeared to be incomplete.
"The plans we have do not indicate what type of piping or stone waterways is in there," he said. "We're trying to get equipment in there."
Czerwinski said the responders had thought they would be able to block one sluiceway to lower the water but discovered another one under the river they were looking to block as well.
He said the area was not a regular swimming hole but something of a hangout and party area.
"We've had problems here on occasion, people falling into the water and not being able to swim, but this is the first drowning I can recall," said the chief.
At this point, the operation has switched to recovery but Czerwinski said no body had been located as of 5 p.m. The efforts were going to continue as long as the weather and daylight held out.
"It's a recovery operation, which means everything gets put to a pace where so safety for the responders is the utmost importance," said Polidoro. "To make sure everything is done properly and we don't lose anyone else."
Pittsfield Police Asking Residents To ID Stolen Property
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police have recovered hundreds of pieces of jewelry and other items that are not matching up with their records of items reported stolen in a recent rash of break-ins.
Anyone who has had their home broken into prior to March 22 is being asked to identify their possessions at an open house on Saturday, June 8, from 10 to 2 at the Police Department on Allen Street.
Police say the items either haven't been reported stolen or were stolen from homes outside of city. The investigation is being done by state, Cheshire, Lanesborough and Pittsfield police. Some of the recovered property has already be linked to break-ins in those communities and in Richmond.
Police have arrested Christopher Maschino Jr., 21, and Anne Haughey, 21, both of Pittsfield, in connection with the break-ins.
Even if the owners of the seized property can identify it, they cannot take possession of their items immediately because they are being held as evidence until released by the district attorney's office.
Attendees are required to bring a valid identification to the open house and are asked to bring any ownership documents.