Otis sports camp sex assault case tossed from adult court

The headline in this story has been amended to clarify that the case has not yet been sent to juvenile court.

PITTSFIELD -- A 17-year-old accused of using a broomstick to rape a fellow student at an Otis sports camp last summer belongs with two co-defendants in Juvenile Court, a judge has ruled.

Seven charges against Galileo Mondol, of Somerville, including aggravated rape of a person under 16, have been dismissed by Berkshire Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini, who said the case should be under the jurisdiction of the state Juvenile Court.

Mondol had just turned 17 when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting three freshmen boys on Aug. 25 at Camp Lenox in Otis with the help of two 16-year-olds. The defendants, juniors who were teammates on the Somerville High School boys' soccer team, were at the camp along with the school's football team, as part of a team-building exercise the weekend the incident took place.

One of the victims was sexually assaulted with a broomstick, while there were attempts on two others, according to prosecutors. One of the boys was allegedly fondled.

Shortly after Mondol's arraignment in Central Berkshire District Court, a new state law went into effect that prohibited 17-year-olds from having their cases heard in adult court. His indictment by a grand jury came a month later, followed by his arraignment in Berkshire Superior Court -- both well after the law was in place.

In February, attorney Sam Zaganjori, of Boston, who represents Mondol, argued that the District Court and Superior Court cases were separate proceedings and that since the indictments were filed after the law went into effect, the charges should be dropped.

The Berkshire District Attorney's Office, represented by prosecutor Rachael Eramo, argued that the criminal proceedings began when he was arraigned in District Court, which took place before the new law went into effect, and that the Superior Court case were part of a continues criminal proceeding.

Agostini found that Mondol's indictment "marked the beginning of a new criminal proceeding and opened a new case in the Superior Court, separate from the District Court criminal proceedings." Because the Superior Court case came "after the effective date of the Act, the Act applies to this case and the Juvenile Court, rather than this court, has jurisdiction."

The District Court case was dismissed at the DA's request, a common procedure, after the case was elevated to the Superior Court in November.

DA spokesman Frederick A. Lantz said the office has asked for a reconsideration of the judge's decision and is requesting that the charges be transferred to the Juvenile Court and that Mondol be tried as a youthful offender.

If convicted, a youthful offender could receive a commitment to the state Department of Youth Services, until he turns 21, a combination DYS commitment and adult sentence, or an adult sentence. If convicted of a sex offense, Mondol also could be required to register as a sex offender.

At Mondol's District Court arraignment, his attorney told the court the alleged victim said Mondol wasn't involved and had tried to dissuade the other teens from continuing the attack. Additionally, he alleged Mondol's co-defendants also denied he was involved.

Mondol was facing one count of aggravated rape of a child under age 16, two counts of assault with intent to rape a child under age 16, indecent assault and battery on a person over age 14, and three counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.

Zaganjori has previously told The Eagle that he wanted to see the case in Berkshire Juvenile Court, where judges have a broader range of discretion in sentencing and where they have specialized knowledge "relating to kids."

Mondol, who turned 17 in July, has no previous criminal record or disciplinary problems.

By state law, information regarding the juvenile court proceedings is closed to the public.

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