Prominent Family's Son Acquitted of Racial Motivation in Attack on 2 Girls

A member of a prominent white family was acquitted Monday of civil rights violations in an attack on two black girls at a downtown subway station but found guilty of assault.

Josiah Spaulding III, whose grandfather founded Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and headed the state Republican Party, faces up to 20 years in prison.

He was convicted of two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon but acquitted of four civil rights and constitutional violations in the Nov. 22, 2002, attack. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Charles Spurlock heard the case without a jury and set sentencing for Aug. 25.

Spaulding, 26, was among a group of nine people who argued with three black teenagers inside the subway station.

Witnesses testified that he never uttered a racial epithet during the confrontation but that his girlfriend did. The witnesses said one of the black teens responded by pushing Spaulding's girlfriend, hitting her with a bottle and choking her.

Spaulding pulled out a collapsible metal baton and hit the girl on the back of the head, according to the witnesses. He also hit a second girl who was not involved in the confrontation, they said.

Prosecutors had described Spaulding as a "skinhead" and said they found Nazi paraphernalia and white supremacist literature in a locker he rented.