Child rapist ordered released to keep him safe from coronavirus
A Massachusetts man convicted of repeatedly raping a 12-year-old boy was ordered released from jail Friday — because he suffers from health conditions that can make him vulnerable to coronavirus, according to new reports.
Glenn Christie, 54, who uses a wheelchair, was ordered released from the Massachusetts Treatment Center by Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger, WBUR reported. One of the conditions is that Christie tests negative for COVID-19, the station reported.
Christie was convicted of child rape and indecent assault on a child under 14 and was being held for violating his probation conditions, according to the report.
Two inmates at the facility, including one of Christie’s former roommates, have died of the virus, according to Christie’s attorney, David Rangaviz.
Rangaviz began filing motions in Christie’s case weeks ago arguing that it’s impossible to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons, according to the local report.
“I wish I wasn’t right,” Rangaviz told the station. “This was a foreseeable disaster if anyone cared enough to start acting quickly.”
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.
“The health risks to a person in custody caused by the pandemic constitute changed circumstances,” which entitle Christie to a new hearing, Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote, according to the outlet. “We also conclude that, in conducting that (new) review, a judge must give careful consideration not only to the risks posed by releasing the defendant –- flight, danger to others or to the community, and likelihood of further criminal acts — but also, during this pandemic, to the risk that the defendant might die or become seriously ill if kept in custody.”
Rangaviz has told the court that Christie suffers from hypothyroidism and possible thyroid cancer, kidney disease and spinal stenosis, the paper reported.
“Mr. Christie was ordered released this morning by the Superior Court!” Rangaviz tweeted Friday. “There are so many move lives to save, but it is an unbelievable relief to get him released while it appears he may have dodged this ongoing outbreak in his facility.”
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