Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition Newsletter
Monday, January 25, 2010
1. Today Show: Where is Gabriel? Mother kills son.
2. A very interesting story, which can be heard as a podcast at Reason.org. Who's Your Daddy? Or Your Other Daddy? Or Your Mommy?
3. Man acquitted of raping minor
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Updated: 01/18/2010 10:08:17 AM EST
Monday, Jan. 18, 2010
PITTSFIELD -- A 36-year-old North Adams man accused of sexually assaulting a minor has been acquitted of all charges.
Kyle M. Ruebesam was found not guilty last week of single counts of rape and abuse of a child without force and indecent assault and battery of a child under age 14.
The Berkshire Superior Court trial lasted from Jan. 7 to Jan. 13. The jury deliberated for about four hours on Wednesday before returning the not-guilty verdict.
Prosecutors alleged that the abuse occurred between Jan. 3, 2006, and Jan. 3, 2007, but defense attorney Leonard H. Cohen claimed the child's mother made those allegations after Ruebesam revealed he would seek custody of the child.
"He was acquitted on both charges," Cohen said Friday.
The attorney said his client is divorced from the child's mother, who has since re-married. The mother levied the abuse allegations shortly after Ruebesam, who was concerned about the child's welfare, announced he would seek custody, according to Cohen.
"He finally just said, ‘I've had it. I'm going to get a lawyer and challenge her in probate court,' then two weeks later these charges emerged," Cohen said.
The veteran Pittsfield defense attorney claimed credible witnesses testified that Ruebesam had "a loving, caring relationship" with the girl, who's now 11.
"I think there was a lack of evidence, No. 1," said Cohen. "And secondly, I think the motive factor played a role."
Cohen praised Berkshire Second Assistant District Attorney Joan M. McMenemy for being a highly skilled attorney. McMenemy prosecuted the case on behalf of the commonwealth.
RINALDO’S NOTES: Why are attorneys REPEATEDLY not allowed to delve into the specifics of a child custody case in a restraining order defense? The child custody case obviously has to do with motive to lie in the restraining order case. Yet time and time again, in a 209A defense, when the judge is allowing 12 minutes to try the case, I have seen judges literally YELL to get on to something “relevant.” Apparently, the fact that the mother has serious problems and is in grave danger of losing the children (or is somehow in some other way using the restraining order as a litigation tactic) is “an outrageous theory.” I had one judge scream at me when I tried to discuss that the mother was a schizophrenic and that there was a child custody case pending. I have this issue in Boston, Pittsfield, and Springfield. It’s a common pattern: they want to hand out restraining orders like lollipops and dismiss the obvious defense as the byproduct of a wise guy grasping at straws.
A pending divorce or child custody case is so OBVIOUSLY connected to the restraining order case, but anything beyond a simple “Is there a divorce pending” is immediately shot down by the judge, almost with contempt as if the advanced theory “was crazy.”
In a criminal case, judges could not get away with shutting down the obvious defense without violating the Constitution—to forbid evidence on motive to lie could not possibly pass the Due Process Clause. Why do judges not allow this in restraining order cases? Especially in the he-said, she-said context, what judge could in good conscious exclude such evidence? It really is an embarrassment to our court system.
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Attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo, III
Spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition
100 North Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201-5109