A man in Massachusetts who was serving time behind bars for raping a 12-year-old boy has been set free by a Massachusetts judge due to his susceptibility to the coronavirus.
Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger released 54-year-old Glenn Christie, despite him testing negative for the coronavirus, as “he suffers from health conditions that can make him vulnerable to coronavirus,” the New York Post reports.
Christie’s attorney, David Rangaviz, initially filed a claim to get his client out of prison for his personal health weeks ago after two individuals at the facility tested positive and subsequently died to the coronavirus. One of the deceased was Christie’s roommate.
“I wish I wasn’t right,” Rangaviz said to local news station WBUR. “This was a foreseeable disaster if anyone cared enough to start acting quickly.”
New York Post reports: “Christie was convicted of child rape and indecent assault on a child under 14 and was being held for violating his probation conditions.”
The deaths sparked legal claims that other inmates should be released.
The report adds:
Christie was on a 10-year probation period after completing a prison term for the rapes, which occurred in the city of Lynn, The Salem News reported.
He was sentenced to return to state prison for one to two years — which his lawyer challenged. That request was denied, but the Supreme Judicial Court ordered the judge to revisit it Wednesday in light of the pandemic and more than a dozen reported cases at the Massachusetts Treatment Center, according to the report.
Glen Christie, 54, convicted of repeatedly raping 12-y/o boy, ordered released from jail b/c he suffers from health conditions that can make him vulnerable to coronavirus. Was convicted of child rape & was being held for violating his probation conditions.https://t.co/ajjr7oSyq9
— James A. Gagliano (@JamesAGagliano) April 4, 2020
In a similar situation, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declares inmates from state jails and prisons could be released to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“We agree that the situation is urgent and unprecedented and that a reduction in the number of people held in custody is necessary,” the 45-page ruling says per WBUR. “We also agree with the Attorney General and the district attorneys that the process of reduction requires individualized determinations, on an expedited basis, and in order to achieve the fastest possible reduction, should focus first on those who are detained pretrial who have not been charged with committing violent crimes.”
The report adds:
Crimes for which someone would not be eligible for potential release include violent crimes, such as assault and battery, domestic violence and certain sex offenses. The justices said that sheriffs, district attorneys and the defense bar should review potentially eligible cases and hearings should be held within two days of filing their motions for release.
The ruling is in response to an emergency petition filed by the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Public Defender Agency of Massachusetts and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts.
“Outbreaks in our prisons will, of course, imperil the lives of incarcerated people, but they will also endanger correctional officers and medical staff, their families, and their communities, as staff cycle through the facilities,” the petition reads. “The more people who contract the virus, the more treatment they will need, and the more precious resources their treatment will require. Prison outbreaks imperil us all.”