BOSTON – Gerald Amirault is considered by some to be a heinous child molester who raped scores of kids at a day care center he owned, and by others to be an innocent man persecuted in a modern-day witch hunt.
Now that a parole board has decided to free Amirault from prison, the controversy surrounding his conviction has begun anew.
Seventeen years ago, Amirault, his sister, Cheryl, and his mother, Violet, were found guilty of repeatedly molesting children in their family-owned Fells Acres Day Care (search). The conviction was based largely on the testimony of kids as young as 3 years old.
But questions were immediately raised about whether the testimony was tainted by overzealous investigators who asked leading questions and planted graphic ideas in the children's heads.
Those doubts led to the convictions of his sister and mother being tossed out in 1998 and sweeping changes to be made in the way prosecutors interview young accusers. Amirault was given the chance to get out of jail if he admitted guilt, but he refused.
Some of the victims still remember their nightmare and are outraged by Amirault's release, set to happen at the end of April. Amirault and his family maintain his innocence.
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