historians will about this shameful aspect of our history, at least
Massachusetts didn't honor John Hathorne after he participated in
the mass hysteria that sent 19 alleged witches to the gallows here
later, Hathorne, a judge who acted more as prosecutor according to
the transcripts of the witchcraft trials, came to be seen for what
he was — a disgrace to the concept of justice and a sad excuse for a
human being. At least that's how he's portrayed in his
great-grandson Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel "The House of the
superstitious folk might understand how someone could get caught up
in that 17th-century foolishness; or did Hathorne just use injustice
to advance his own political fortunes? Speaking of Martha Coakley:
time she was able to influence the Fells Acre Day Care case, there
was no excuse for ignorance. It was well understood that the
children who accused Violet, Cheryl and Gerald Amirault of child
abuse in 1984 had been brainwashed by social workers. Two respected
judges had declared the trials a travesty and released Violet and
her daughter; the parole board had unanimously recommended
commutation of Gerald's sentence. Similar cases in other states had
remained was for then-Gov. Jane Swift to agree to the commutation.
anyone could have read the court transcripts, seen the taped
interviews of the children, read the Pulitzer-winning columns and
book by The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz, met with
Gerald's wide network of family and friends, and come to the
conclusion that Gerald was innocent. I did all of these things after
interviewing him in the Plymouth County House of Corrections, before
jumping on the justice bandwagon.
So I was
horrified when Swift refused to commute, forcing an innocent Gerald
to spend two more years in jail — 18 in all.
Recently, I learned that Swift had been influenced by Coakley, who,
against all reason, still insists that the Amiraults were guilty. So
mine is a nonpartisan contempt for both women.
Swift's action helped seal her political fate as she lost the
Republican nomination in the next election cycle to Mitt Romney.
is reaching for even more undeserved political glory despite the
evidence that she cares nothing for the truth and cannot admit the
mistakes made by the Middlesex County district attorney's office, of
which she took charge, succeeding the original Amirault persecutors,
Scott Harshbarger and Tom Reilly.
Republican candidate in Tuesday's U.S. Senate race, Scott Brown, has
my vote, though I disagree with him on several things, not least of
which is his statement that "Martha Coakley is a nice person." No,
Scott, she is not.
Little-known fact: In 1997, Martha Coakley moved to Dorchester for a
different special election, for the Dorchester state representative
seat. She finished fourth, getting only 746 votes from the few
people impressed by her electoral ambition.
seems a good time to interview Gerald Amirault, a former Citizens
for Limited Taxation staffer, again.
Anderson: Gerry, can I assume you'll be voting for Scott Brown on
Amirault: Yes. I think he will make a good senator, but of course I
also look forward to voting against Martha Coakley, who helped keep
me in jail for two extra years.
Tell us why you weren't released at the same time as your mother and
had a different trial judge, so my case was on a different track
from the beginning. I was just glad that my mother got out before
she died of cancer, and that my sister was also free. But after our
hopes were raised by the unanimous commutation vote of the Parole
Board, the extra years were hard on my wife and children.
I've gotten to know you all over the years, and am still surprised
that you yourself have always seemed more surprised and disbelieving
than bitter and angry about what happened to you.
The disbelief was overwhelming. My mother ran a nice family
business, no complaints for 20 years, then suddenly we were accused
of incredible things — secret rooms, clowns, animal sacrifice — in a
house where teachers and others were around all day, where no
evidence was ever found.
That's what first seemed strange to me: How did three members of a
respected family suddenly become monsters, with no warning or
was so crazy we didn't know how to defend ourselves! But, anger and
bitterness didn't help. I had no control over my circumstances, only
over how I lived with them. I tried to remain positive, and be a
good role model for my kids.
They are great kids. And now you have grandchildren.
Yes, I feel I have a good life now, with the same good family and
friends who got me through the bad years. I enjoy my freedom;
believe me, I appreciate every minute!
Not to argue with great attitude, but it must be hard to see your
persecutors — Harshbarger, Reilly, Coakley — winning elections and
advancing politically over the years.
really hope when voters go to the polls they remember my mom,
Violet, and the years of service she gave to children and families
only to lose everything to this terrible injustice. Voters didn't
choose Harshbarger or Reilly for governor; I can only hope they
won't choose Martha Coakley to be my U.S senator.