Friday, January 7, 2000
High school students face felony charge
Five Concord-Carlisle High School students face a felony charge for allegedly videotaping sex with a 16-year-old female student. The students were arraigned in Concord District Court on December 14 on a charge of posing or exhibiting a child under 18 in a state of nudity or sexual contact.
According to Concord Police Lieutenant Paul Macone, the students charged are Remy Cotard, 18, of Boston; Jeffrey Finch, 17, of Jamaica Plain; Tyrone Lewis-Grant, 17 of Boston; and Israel Rodas-Torres, 17 of Concord. Rodas-Torres also faces a separate charge of possession of a visual material of a child depicted in sexual contact. A fifth student, a juvenile under the age of 17 whose name cannot be released, faces felony charges in juvenile court. The Boston students attend CCHS as part of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunities (METCO) program. The female involved is a student at CCHS and resides at Concord-Assabet Adolescent Services, a residential home for teenage girls in Concord.
A complaint was made to the Concord police that a person under the age of 18 had been videotaped while in the state of nudity. The Concord police initiated an investigation on December 7. As a result, a search warrant was executed and the evidence was seized from the Commonwealth Ave. home of Rodas-Torres. The alleged incident took place in Concord home last fall. Students turned themselves in to the police when an arrest warrant was issued.
Macone said of the allegations, "These are serious charges with serious ramifications." The charge carries a sentence of not less than 10 and not more than 20 years in state prison and a fine of $20,000 to $50,000. However, the crime does not carry a minimum mandatory sentence, leaving sentencing to the discretion of a judge. Because the students named are over age 17, they can be tried as adults according to Massachusetts law. The case has been continued until a January 21 status date at the Concord District Court. According to Macone, a grand jury must make a decision on whether to indict the students. If an indictment occurs, the case would go to Superior Court in Cambridge.
Principal Elaine DiCicco has suspended the five students from the high school until January 21 or until completion of the judicial proceedings. The suspension reflects the severity of the charges brought, DiCicco said, and is not based on an assumption of guilt of the students involved. DiCicco has met with a number of students at the high school to discuss the case and says that students have different reactions to what happened. "Some students feel terrible about what happened, others felt that each person was consenting, others were concerned the students were suspended."
A student petition was posted at CCHS before the holiday vacation asking that the suspensions be ended and the students be allowed to return to classes. Under the Education Reform Act of 1993 student suspensions are decided by the school principal. A suspension can be appealed to the school superintendent who has final authority over the decision. All five students appealed the suspension to the superintendent the week before vacation. Concord School Superintendent Ed Mavragis said he heard the appeals but he has concerns over the seriousness of the charges. He has decided to continue the suspensions through the month of January while the judicial process take its course.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito