To the editor:
I write in regard to the Berkshire district attorney campaign. I have been a trial lawyer for 38 years. I was a federal prosecutor for 10 years, and have practiced criminal law in Berkshire County and other counties across Massachusetts.
Throughout the campaign, candidate Paul Caccaviello has claimed that his long "experience" in the DA's office makes him the best candidate.
I beg to differ, but first some facts. The Clery Act is a federal law requiring colleges to report on-campus crime statistics to the U.S. Department of Education. Williams College made its most recent Clery Act disclosure in 2017 covering the years 2014-2016. For those three years, Williams identified 41 credible complaints of rape that it had reported to its campus security office and the Williamstown Police Department. The Berkshire district attorney had the responsibility to review these cases and prosecute those that could be proven in court. My research reveals that only one of these 47 cases has been prosecuted.
These shocking statistics demand an explanation from candidate Caccaviello. At a recent public forum in Williamstown, Caccaviello blamed Williams College, claiming it had failed to report them to law enforcement and to advocate for the rights of student survivors. But according to the Williams Clery Act Reports, all the data about this sexual violence was reported to the Williamstown Police Department and must have been reviewed by the DA's Office. Moreover, all this Clery Act information for 2014-2016 has been publicly available online to Caccaviello's Office for quite some time.
In an August 3 letter to The Eagle, Meg Bossong, the director of sexual assault prevention at Williams, wrote that Caccaviello's claims at the Williamstown Forum were "categorically false." Ms. Bossong asked that Caccaviello provide the public with statistics detailing the number of these kinds of rape cases his office has prosecuted, and their resolution. Caccaviello has failed to do so.
Voters are entitled to this information and a truthful explanation for the DA's failure to prosecute more of these cases. They are also part of Caccaviello's "experience" for which he is accountable.
Andrea Harrington has made a public commitment to review the many rape cases Caccaviello's Office has failed to bring. This has to be done to restore credibility and common decency to that office. She is the only candidate who will bring this kind of accountability to the Berkshire DA's office.