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Gov. Won’t Commute Amirault Sentence

February 20, 2002

BOSTON (AP) _ Acting Gov. Jane Swift has refused to commute the sentence of a man convicted in 1986 of molesting and raping eight children at a family run day-care center.

Gerald Amirault has served 15 years of a 30- to 40-year sentence. Last month, the parole board recommended by a 5-0 vote commutation of his sentence, saying there is ``substantial doubt″ about his conviction.

Swift made her decision after her legal team interviewed more than 35 people on both sides, her spokesman Jim Borghesani said Tuesday.

``It brought back memories that upset me, but I’m happy. He’s where he should be,″ said Barbara Standke, 47.

Standke said her son had come home from the Fells Acres Day School in Malden with sores on his genitals and wearing different underwear.

A call to Amirault’s lawyer was not returned Tuesday.

Katie Amirault, 21, one of Amirault’s children, said the family learned about Swift’s decision late Tuesday and had not had time to discuss it.

``It’s definitely a shock,″ she said. ``My emotions are all flying now.″

Amirault’s sister, Cheryl Amirault LeFave, and his late mother, Violet Amirault, were convicted in a separate trial.

LeFave and Violet Amirault were freed in 1995 on appeal after claiming they were denied the right to confront their child accusers. Violet died in 1997.

In 1998, a judge ordered a new trial for LeFave, saying prosecutors’ leading interviews made it impossible to tell if the children were lying. The children testified that Violet had cut off a squirrel’s leg and tied a naked boy to a tree while teachers and children watched, evidence never corroborated.

LeFave was released permanently in 1999.

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