Last Updated on April 6, 2020
A man convicted of repeatedly raping a 12-year-old boy was released early from a Massachusetts jail as his health was deemed too vulnerable to withstand a potential coronavirus infection.
Wheelchair-bound Glenn Christie, 54, was “ordered released from the Massachusetts Treatment Center by Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger,” according to The New York Post.
Christie’s attorney suspects his client suffers from Thyroid cancer, kidney problems, and spinal stenosis.
One of the conditions for the child rapist’s release was to test negative for Covid-19 as the deadly coronavirus begins to spread through prisons.
According to WBUR, The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 45-page ruling says:
…Pre-trial detainees not charged with certain violent offenses and those held on technical probation and parole violations are eligible for hearings to determine if they can be released. The ruling does not affect those who have been sentenced.
“We agree that the situation is urgent and unprecedented and that a reduction in the number of people held in custody is necessary,” the ruling says. “We also agree with the Attorney General and the district attorneys that the process of reduction requires individualized determinations, on an expedited basis, and in order to achieve the fastest possible reduction, should focus first on those who are detained pretrial who have not been charged with committing violent crimes.”
Christie was convicted of child rape and indecent assault on a child under 14, and he was serving another prison sentence of 1-2 years for a parole violation of a ten-year parole period following his release from prison after serving the original sentence.
Christie’s attorney, David Rangaviz, said that two inmates, including Christie’s cellmate, had died of the coronavirus.
Rangaviz ferociously argued that it was impossible to contain the spread of the coronavirus within a prison–something which has prompted other prisons to entertain granting their inmates early release.
More than a dozen Covid-19 cases had been reported at the Massachusetts Treatment Center, which urged the Supreme Judicial Court to revisit the request to release the inmate.
The New York Post reported:
“The health risks to a person in custody caused by the pandemic constitute changed circumstances,” which entitle Christie to a new hearing, Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote, according to the outlet. “We also conclude that, in conducting that (new) review, a judge must give careful consideration not only to the risks posed by releasing the defendant –- flight, danger to others or to the community, and likelihood of further criminal acts — but also, during this pandemic, to the risk that the defendant might die or become seriously ill if kept in custody.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Rangaviz wrote: “Mr. Christie was ordered released this morning by the Superior Court!
“There are so many move lives to save, but it is an unbelievable relief to get him released while it appears he may have dodged this ongoing outbreak in his facility.”
In California, judged balked at the prospect of releasing inmates over coronavirus fears, but left an open door to the idea of cutting the prison population if the state failed to act adequately in containing the pandemic.