Massachusetts Lawmaker's Pledge to 'Rip Apart' Child Rape Victims at Trial Draws Fury

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Massachusetts politician and defense attorney has touched off a firestorm with his shocking public vow to torment and "rip apart" child rape victims who take the witness stand if the state legislature passed stiff mandatory sentences for child sex offenders.

Rep. James Fagan, a Democrat, made the comments during debate last month on the state House floor.

"I'm gonna rip them apart," Fagan said of young victims during his testimony on the bill. "I'm going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined, that when they’re 8 years old, they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”

Click here to watch Fagan's shocking statements on the Massachusetts House floor.

Fagan said as a defense attorney it would be his duty to do that in order to keep his clients free from a "mandatory sentence of those draconian proportions."

Fagan did not respond to repeated requests for comment from

His remarks drew the ire of local activists as well as colleagues.

“I thought his comments were over the top and unnecessary,” Massachusetts House Minority Leader Bradley Jones told on Wednesday.

“I appreciate that he’s a defense attorney, and felt he had a point to make, but I think it was unnecessary,” said Jones, who supported an original version of the bill. “It was excessive.”

The father of the Florida girl for whom Jessica's Law is named also blasted Fagan after hearing the comments.

Mark Lunsford, whose 9-year-old daughter was abducted and buried alive in a trash bag by a sex offender in 2005, told the Boston Herald on Tuesday that Fagan should take the rights of victimized children seriously.

“Why doesn’t he figure out a way to defend that child and put these kind of people away instead of trying to figure ways for defense attorneys to get around Jessica’s Law?” Lunsford told the paper. “These are very serious crimes that nobody wants to take serious. What about the rights of these children?”

The bill that he opposed eventually passed the House and set mandatory minimum sentences of between 10 and 15 years for a set of different offenses against children ranging from assault to sexual crimes. A version is still pending in the state Senate.

From a legal perspective, law professor Phyllis Goldfarb said Fagan was probably expressing a basic courtroom truth – that it is a defense attorney’s job to test the prosecution’s case, especially when mandatory penalties are on the line.

“It is fundamentally true … if the proof is coming almost exclusively through a child witness you may have to find a way to test it. That’s the attorney-client obligation there,” Goldfarb told

Goldfarb, who used to direct the Criminal Justice Clinic at Boston College Law School, said Fagan used some over-the-top language, but that he probably didn't relish the idea of cross-examining a child. She said it's just his job.

“You do have to challenge a witness,” she said. “Some people find ways of doing that that are loyal to their role as defense attorneys -- testing the proof (in ways) that aren’t abusive to a witness, but it's very hard.

“And I think being put in that hard position is what he seems to be railing against here, using language that’s probably a little bit hyperbolic.”

Lunsford will be in Massachusetts on Wednesday to push the state Senate to include mandatory prison time in the state's final version of Jessica's Law, according to the Herald.

Reader Information: State Rep. James Fagan is a Democrat representing the Third Bristol District, which includes the city of Taunton. Fagan, a 1973 graduate of Suffolk Law School, has been representing the district since 1993, and serves as chair of the House ethics committee. He can be reached by e-mailing or calling:

State House: 617-722-2040

District office: 508-824-7000


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Jun. 26, 2008 at 2:30 PM

Here is the email I sent him...  I got a little heated...sorry ya'll.   Go ahead and email him too please!!!!


Your rant against sexually abused victims made me sick to my stomach.  You nasty, sick bastard!  How dare you even wake from your sleep tomorrow!  As a victim of childhood, sexual assault, I KNOW the pain, the turmoil, the vomiting, the sleeplessness, the tragic relationships lost that result!  How dare you mock that!!!!!!!!!!! I wish to God that you could spend one night in that prison with the worst of the worst, to be exposed, humiliated, violated, harassed, raped and abused!!!!!!!  Why don’t you just bend over let your “F-ing” client show you how it feels!!!!!!!!  If you have children or grandchildren, I would be very afraid for them… with bastards like you for a family member, what will happen to them if they are hurt???  Are you going to defend their rapist?  Are you going to rip them apart?  Are you make sure they have nightmares?  You fucking bastard.  May you burn in hell.  God have pity on your merciless soul!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jun. 26, 2008 at 2:46 PM Wow.........just wow......

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Jun. 26, 2008 at 3:02 PM I'm glad I don't live there. I would like to see all the states adopt stricter laws to put all the child abusers, rapist, and the like away for every! I am dealing with sexual assault to a minor in my home right now.  It's very hard because the abuser is my step-son. I want to believe he can be rehabilitated. But, at the same-time pray he will never be around my babies again! I don't want to have to be on my guard when ever he is around for the rest of my life.

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Jun. 26, 2008 at 9:02 PM

Does he hold an elected or appointed post?  If elected, get the word out and vote this creep out of office! 

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Jun. 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM

I'm sorry, but right now I'm mad as Hell!  James Cooey is a sick SOB for what he did to Jessica!  My children are somehow related to them, so it brings it even closer to home.

This "man" James Fagan, if you could believe he is a "man", in like the scum at the bottom of a pond.  He is the one to be deemed "draconian"!  Yes, our constitution allows for the defense of the accused because of the our "rights", but children have the same rights afforded adults.  I'd love to see how a judge would handle his aggressiveness toward a scared little nine year old testifying against someone like "Cooey" (who, by the way, was already a felonious predator when he chose to act out his deviant behavior against a child asleep in her bed)!!  As a result, he should have NO rights.

Oh, I am raging over this.  I have to go, shut down this computer and take a walk or something.  Otherwise, there is no telling what I might write to this piece of trash.  The men in black might just show up!!


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Jun. 27, 2008 at 12:32 PM

I sent this to him.

This child has already been ripped apart. You useless piece of shit!

An 18-year-old Greensburg man has been charged with raping a baby who police said was left in his care.Police said Scott Wade Smith raped his girlfriend's 5-month-old girl Friday morning at a home in the 500 block of Highland Avenue, where several people, including the infant's mother, were living.Authorities said the infant suffered severe injuries and was flown to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where surgery was performed.{ "iframe": false, "addlSz": "", "element": "ad_N59B7", "interstitials": false, "beginDate": "", "endDate": "", "getSect": "yes", "name": "square", "qString": "", "width": "300", "height": "250", "section": "", "useId": "15529277", "interactive": false, "useSameCategory": true, "topic": "", "swSectionRoot": "", "useZone": "", "type": "DOM" });
Police said the girl was crying so hard she nearly stopped breathing. According to police, Smith made a story about the baby choking on a crayon, but paramedics didn't find anything in her throat. So, they decided to take her to Westmoreland Hospital, which is where doctors found blood inside her diaper."Doctors immediately notified Greensburg police, who headed to the house with a search warrant," said Capt. George Seranko of the Greensburg Police Department.There, police said they found a blood-soaked towel in a box in Smith's bedroom, along with four red-stained baby wipes.The mother was in class at her high school when the alleged attack occurred, police said.Smith was charged with five felonies, including rape of a child, causing seriously bodily injury, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and endangering the welfare of children. He is being held at the Westmoreland County Prison on $1 million bail.Police said rape of a child with serious bodily injury under the age of 13 is punishable by life in prison, and they are asking the district attorney to push for that sentence.A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday. It's unknown whether Smith has a lawyer yet.

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Jun. 27, 2008 at 2:45 PM OMG..... I'm sick to my stomach after reading that MaryJane.... OMG....  i wanna kill him..  I wish they had the death penalty for people like that.  maybe we should deport him to Iraq and let them kill him!  SICKO!!!!!  How could someone do that....   how satanic!  i'm crying just thinking about that poor baby crying

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Jun. 27, 2008 at 3:53 PM I serioulsy think I'm going to vomit.......who could do that to a child!!!!!!!  To a BABY!  I woudl hav ekilled him with my bare hands if it was my child....I couldnt' even read all of it.....know it or not, there IS a "code of ethics" in prison, he will NOT be treated kindly by officers OR other inmates......

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Jun. 27, 2008 at 4:46 PM malarkey. nice example of taking something out of context to villify the the opposing party.

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Jun. 27, 2008 at 4:58 PM

Mary Jane- 

There was another article on the same page-  about an infant that died as a result of "anal intrusion"

Any pervert who's sick enough to fuck a child needs to be KILLED.  killed in horrifying, cruel, and unusual ways.


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