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Child Sex-Assault Defendants Ordered To Prison

August 13, 1987

BOSTON (AP) _ A woman fainted in court and her daughter screamed at the judge as they both were ordered to begin serving prison terms of up to 20 years for sexually abusing children at a day-care center.

Violet Amirault collapsed in the courtroom Wednesday and her daughter, Cheryl Amirault LeFave, yelled at Supreme Court Justice Joseph Nolan as he sent them to prison.

Other family members were removed from the courtroom as the decision was announced.

Nolan refused to grant a stay of the eight-to-20-year sentences given the women, who were convicted in June of raping and molesting four children at the Fells Acres Day School the defendants operated in Malden.

Mrs. Amirault, 63, and Mrs. LeFave, 29, had been granted a stay of their sentence until Aug. 17 so they could appeal a state Appeals Court ruling ordering them to begin serving their sentences.

But Nolan rejected the request and canceled the remaining portion of the lower court’s stay and ordered the women to the state prison for women in Framingham.

They are appealing their convictions.

Mrs. Amirault, proprietor of the now-defunct day-care center, was convicted of two counts of child rape and three counts of indecent assault and battery of a child.

Mrs. LeFave, who worked at the center, was found guilty of three counts of child rape and four counts of assault and battery on a child. They will have to serve five years and four months before being eligible for parole.

Mrs. Amirault’s son, Gerald ″Tooky″ Amirault, 33, was convicted at an earlier trial of eight rape charges and seven counts of indecent assault. He is serving a 30-to-40-year sentence at the state prison in Walpole.

Testimony from victims at both trials indicated the children were threatened with violence if they reported the sexual abuse to their parents. Defense attorneys argued the stories were planted in the minds of the children by parents, social workers and investigators.

Mrs. Amirault said after her trial that parents of the children, now between 6 and 10 years old, had filed civil suits totaling $60 million against her and her family.

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