Bizarre Berkshire County

[Note: Friends of Justice is a personal blog. I speak only for myself.]

Dear Friend of Justice,

I began learning about corrupt Berkshire County back in 1998, when Jim and I became involved in the Bernard Baran case. We soon learned that Baran’s was far from the only case of an almost certainly innocent person behind bars for non-existent sexual abuse of a child out there.

As we got to know more and more friends and relatives of the wrongfully convicted, we also began hearing rumors about the sexual misconduct of members of the Berkshire establishment, including several directly involved in the wrongful-conviction cases. I did not pass these rumors on for two reasons. One, I didn’t consider them directly relevant to the cases. And two, I felt nothing should be done while the alleged victims were refusing to go public with their charges.

I did, however, suspect that at least some of these charges were true. When political power is concentrated in a few hands, members of the ruling elite eventually come to consider themselves outside of the reaches of the law. Indeed, they may in fact be the law. In such a corrupt community, challenging the authorities can have very nasty consequences.

One name frequently came up in these conversations:  Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen Massimiano. I will not repeat these allegations because they are, thus far, unsubstantiated. My attitude then, as now, was that if these things happened then the accusers should muster the courage to go public.

Now one accuser has gone public. Today, this story was published in the Berkshire Eagle.

Massimiano has the right, so frequently denied to others in Berkshire County, to the presumption of innocence. If the charges against him are true, others may come forward. If he is eventually found guilty in a court of law, a powerful blow will have been dealt to the ruling cadre of Berkshire County.

And if he is innocent, someone in power out there will experience first hand the horror of living with a false accusation.

It will be interesting to see what will happen next.