Thursday, May 08, 2008

Advocates for people with developmental disabilities say law enforcement could have done more to prevent the repeated gang rape of a intellectually impaired man

From this story in the South Coast Today

NEW BEDFORD - Advocates for the developmentally disabled say law enforcement authorities could have done more to prevent the repeated gang rapes of a mentally handicapped man.

Suspect Buddy E. Smith, 22, of Fall River, as well as an uncle of Mr. Smith and several friends who are still at large, stalked, kidnapped and raped the mentally retarded man more than a dozen times from 2004 to 2007, prosecutors say. Mr. Smith and his friends also engaged in a campaign of threats and intimidation to keep the Tiverton, R.I., man from reporting the crimes, prosecutors said.

"This is the worst alleged case of sustained abuse of a person with mental retardation in New England since the Raynham 'House of Horrors' was exposed more than 10 years ago," said Colleen Lutkevich, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition of Families and Advocates for the Retarded.

COFAR officials have been working with the victim's relatives since they reached out to the organization last summer. The group has been monitoring the ongoing court proceedings against Mr. Smith, and has been critical of how law enforcement initially handled the case.

COFAR officials claim the Fall River Police Department refused to take a report when the victim's family approached them in January 2006 because the victim was developmentally disabled.