Bristol County District Attorney Tom Quinn says curbing domestic violence a top priority

From The Herald News
By Marc Laroque
March 23, 2015

TAUNTON — After his office successfully argued in Taunton District Court to hold a repeat offender without bail, newly appointed Bristol County District Attorney Tom Quinn said on Monday that he is making domestic abuse a top priority while in office.

“I think the first goal of this office is to protect the woman,” Quinn said. “Primarily, it’s women who have a physical disadvantage in all of these cases, and we need to protect them and their families from harm. It takes great toll on the society and individuals.”

Quinn said he was very happy to hear that a 45-year-old Taunton man with a long history of domestic violence was ordered held for 120 days during a dangerousness hearing at Taunton District Court. Dale Draper was arrested Wednesday on assault and battery charges on a woman, adding to a lengthy rap sheet that includes several domestic violence offenses. Quinn said that his office would continue to use dangerousness hearings to protect women from violent repeat offenders.

“This is clearly a case where the victim can’t protect herself from this man,” Quinn said. “We moved to have him detained and are happy that he was. Clearly, he should be locked up behind bars, where he can’t hurt her anymore.”

Quinn said that domestic violence is a widespread societal problem in the U.S. and that it has a devastating effect on children who grow up in such an environment, leading to a cycle of abuse.

“When children are exposed to this growing up, that’s what they see and they don’t know any better,” Quinn said. “It certainly becomes ingrained into their mind.”

Quinn said he would take a two-pronged approach to curbing this societal problem — through awareness in public schools and through aggressive prosecution of violent offenders.

“It’s not an easy solution,” Quinn said. “I look forward to getting out into the schools … and emphasizing to some of the younger people that it’s important to have respect for women. You fulfill that by acting like a gentleman and not starting this dysfunctional bad behavior at a young age. It starts with the dating (violence) and escalates.”

Quinn said utilizing his special domestic violence units, headed by Courtney Cahill, his office is going to bring special attention to each domestic violence case and recommend the appropriate punishment.

“The main thing is to have a more focused and hands-on approach to these cases,” Quinn said.

Quinn also took aim at a recent change to Massachusetts state law that prohibits police departments from releasing any information about domestic violence arrests to the press or the public. Quinn said he plans to talk to lawmakers about changing this specific aspect of the law, which took effect last summer, in hopes of reversing the legislation’s language about access to the names of domestic abuse suspects and the charges against them.

“I think, in my opinion, these defendants shouldn’t get special treatment, even though the intentions of the statute are good,” said Quinn, noting that the intent was to protect domestic violence victims, but that it actually serves the interests of the perpetrators.

“I don’t think that assists the protection of domestic violence victims,” he said. “The names of the defendants are available for all other types of crimes, including sexual assaults. … I think the public and the press should know right away who these people are.”

Original article: http://www.heraldnews.com/article/20150323/NEWS/150328591/?Start=2