A sex offender who raped a child was released from custody this week because of concerns that he could become infected with coronavirus, WBUR reports.
The Massachusetts Superior Court on Friday ordered that 54-year-old Glenn Christie be released from a state treatment facility, as long as he tests negative for COVID-19.
According to the report, Christie was being held for violating probation after he was convicted of raping a 12-year-old boy repeatedly.
At least two inmates of the facility have died from coronavirus, one of whom was Christie’s former roommate. David Rangaviz, Christie’s attorney, argued that Christie is especially vulnerable to the virus because he has underlying health problems and uses a wheelchair.
Rangaviz had petitioned the court weeks ago trying to get Christie out during the pandemic. He said there is no way to prevent the spread of the virus in prisons and jails.
“I wish I wasn’t right,” Rangaviz told WBUR. “This was a foreseeable disaster if anyone cared enough to start acting quickly.”
According to The Salem News, Christie is serving a decade of probation following a prison sentence, but because of the probation violation, Christie was ordered to return to confinement for another year or two.
The state’s Supreme Judicial Court this week ordered that Christie’s request for release be reconsidered in light of numerous cases at the treatment facility.
“The health risks to a person in custody caused by the pandemic constitute changed circumstances,” the Supreme Judicial Court wrote in Christie’s case. “We also conclude that, in conducting that (new) review, a judge must give careful consideration not only to the risks posed by releasing the defendant –- flight, danger to others or to the community, and likelihood of further criminal acts — but also, during this pandemic, to the risk that the defendant might die or become seriously ill if kept in custody.”
Christie has hypothyroidism and also may suffer from thyroid cancer, spinal stenosis and kidney disease, according to Rangaviz.
On Friday, Rangaviz tweeted about his success in getting Christie released.
“Mr. Christie was ordered released this morning by the Superior Court!” Rangaviz wrote. “There are so many move lives to save, but it is an unbelievable relief to get him released while it appears he may have dodged this ongoing outbreak in his facility.”
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