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Mass. Grandparents Get House Arrest

April 28, 1998

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ Two grandparents convicted of sexually abusing their grandchildren were ordered Monday to remain in their home until a judge decides their fate.

Raymond and Shirley Souza, both 66, have already spent five years under house arrest following their 1993 conviction.

Although sentenced to 9 to 15 years in prison, they have been allowed to remain under house arrest while their appeals are decided.

``This is good for now,″ said Shirley Souza, crying and holding her husband’s hand, after the court hearing. ``But we really miss our freedom. This has torn us apart.″

Judge Elizabeth Dolan ordered the two to remain in their Lowell home until she rules on their motion for a new trial. She could order a new trial, reject the appeal, order the Souzas to prison for up to 15 years or leave them under house arrest.

The Souzas were convicted of raping two granddaughters, 3- and 4-year-old girls who told of being forced to touch the private parts of ``Grammy″ and ``Papa.″ Experts found physical evidence consistent with sexual abuse, but no conclusive proof of it.

Because of their age, the Souzas expect to die behind bars if they are sent to prison.

Meanwhile, crowds of Souza supporters wearing pink and white ribbons were present for the hearing.

The Souzas say their prime accuser _ their daughter _ was a rape victim who was led astray by an unlicensed therapist. The Souzas’ defense attorney has asked for a new trial claiming the Souzas’ original attorney misrepresented them.

``This has been a miscarriage of justice,″ lawyer Kevin Nixon said.

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