Politics

Sex Offender Just Set Free By Mass. Bail Fund Is Charged With New Rape

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Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said he was “absolutely appalled” that someone with McClinton’s history would be freed. “We’re getting to a point in society where we’re giving more credence to criminals than victims. We’re talking about violent offenders. Why would you bail someone who committed rapes?”

The new charges against McClinton, 39, sparked immediate criticism of the Massachusetts Bail Fund, the group that posted the $15,000 bail to set him free.

Three weeks after being freed from the jail where he was being held on rape charges, Level 3 sex offender Shawn McClinton faced new allegations Thursday that he kidnapped, beat, and raped a woman he met walking along a Quincy street.

McClinton, who was convicted of rape in 1994 and 2007 and has a pending rape case in Suffolk Superior Court, was ordered held without bail Thursday by Judge Lisa Grant of Dorchester District Court.

“I find probable cause that Mr. McClinton committed a new violent offense, while on release for a violent offense,” the judge said. “I find there are no conditions that would ensure the safety of the community, particularly females.”

Officials at the Bail Fund, who oppose the bail system on philosophical grounds, did not respond to requests for comment. The fund, whose slogan is “Free Them All,” argues that requiring cash bail for defendants to get out of jail before trial is unfair to the poor and ineffective at preventing crime.

If a prosecutor believes a defendant is too dangerous to release, the fund and its supporters contend, the prosecutor should ask a judge to declare him or her dangerous enough to be held indefinitely.

The group has existed for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the killing of George Floyd by police in Minnesota have spurred a massive infusion of donations to bail funds nationally. As recently as January, it was posting bails of up to only $500, but in recent weeks the group has paid as much as $85,000 to free a defendant who was accused of shooting someone in broad daylight. This week, it bailed out 30 defendants in Boston, a court official said.

But as the Bail Fund has paid increasingly higher bail amounts, law enforcement officials have raised concerns that the group is putting dangerous people back on the streets of Massachusetts.

Even Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who has argued for freeing many prisoners, said releasing McClinton is going too far.

The Bail Fund, she said, often posts bail for low level offenders, who remain behind bars unfairly mainly because they’re poor.

“However, aggravated rape, kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault, strangulation and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon are not low-level misdemeanors. They are violent felonies,” Rollins said. “And the person they bailed out is a sexual predator that hurts and rapes women and children. The Bail Fund posted $15,000 and set McClinton loose on our co… (Read more)

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