Editorial: Jared Remy case a travesty in which a man’s violence was repeatedly condoned

Last modified: Sunday, March 30, 2014

Imagine this: A defendant is arrested 20 times on criminal charges involving destruction of property. Or this: A defendant is hauled to court on 20 occasions to face drug charges serious enough that they could lead to jail.

It’s a safe bet in either case that such repeat offenders would go to jail once the authorities realized second chances were failing to rehabilitate. Such a defendant, after all, represents a serious danger to society.

Now imagine this: A defendant is arrested 20 times on allegations he beat up or otherwise assaulted women in his life.

Probation, probation, probation, probation, probation, probation.

That is what happened in the case of Jared Remy, 35, who is now, finally, incarcerated while awaiting a murder trial after police arrested him in connection with the stabbing death in August of Jennifer Martel, 27, his girlfriend and mother of their child.

As documented in a rage-inducing, 7,800-word story published in the Boston Sunday Globe, the signs were legion that Jared Remy’s penchant for violence was a catastrophe in the making. This is not Monday-morning quarterbacking, with hindsight clear only after a 5-year-old girl lost her mother in a bloodbath in their home.

This is a case where judges screwed up and the judicial system failed.

The Globe story is based on an exhaustive review of hundreds of pages of police records and court documents involving Remy and interviews with 40 people who knew him — many of whom said they’d been terrorized by him.

What follows are highlights of the Globe’s account.

Starting at age 17, Remy was arrested in connection with attacks on five different girlfriends in a pattern of aggression and utter disregard for authority.

His father, beloved Red Sox sportscaster Jerry Remy, called police in 1996 asking officers to explain to his son “the seriousness of his actions” when he harassed, after their breakup, a classmate he had dated. The police report on that incident stated that the younger Remy said he didn’t think it would be “a big deal” if she took out a restraining order against him.

On multiple occasions, according to police records, Remy threatened to kill women he was dating, had formerly dated, or men they subsequently became close to.

More than 10 times, while he was either on probation or awaiting resolution of other charges, he was arrested on new, violent offenses.

According to police reports in 1998, Remy choked Tiffany Guyette, with whom he had a son in 1997, while she was holding their baby and destroyed the windshield wipers on her car, leading to his arrest for domestic assault and malicious destruction of property. An officer later wrote: “I observed all of the marks on her as well as black smudged finger and hand prints around her neck.”

A month later, over the objections of the prosecutor, a judge granted a request by Remy’s lawyer to continue the case without a finding. This means he was placed on probation for a year but would not have a criminal record as long as he remained out of trouble with the law. Less than a year later, Remy was arrested after breaking a beer bottle on the head of a man Guyette was spending time with, according to court records.

Even though he had the previous violent offense hanging over his head, Remy was placed on probation and the case against him again continued without a finding.

In some cases, judges released Remy on special conditions: that he undergo therapy, live with his parents, follow a curfew.

These weak interventions did little to stop an out-of-control man’s destructive path. When serious consequences were warranted, they were not meted out.

The Jared Remy debacle took an even more tragic turn Aug. 13, when Remy slammed Martel’s head against a bathroom mirror, according to an affidavit. He was arrested that night on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and later released from jail after paying a $40 fee.

The next night, prosecutors say, he returned to the apartment where he repeatedly stabbed Martel. His murder trial is scheduled for October.

Remy’s parents released a statement to the Globe in which they said they sought to provide their son with the “necessary professional help for any of his personal issues,” and also “repeatedly sought to assist the victims of Jared’s behavior.”

If they couldn’t see it, somebody else should have realized that with such an extreme pattern of violence, what Jared Remy needed most was not “help,” but consequences.

What went wrong here?

Some suggest that the mishandling of the criminal cases against Jared Remy is somehow related to his father’s fame. We don’t think so.

We believe if Jared Remy had a serious drug problem that led to his criminal behavior — or an inclination to break into houses and steal other people’s things — he would not have been allowed to go free.

The problem here is not the culture of celebrity and how society grants leniency to those who hold it.

This is a much older, much more intrenched story than that.

It is about the insidious disregard for the lives of women and a family’s need to make excuses for a man’s violence.


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