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Rollins Criticizes Group That Bailed Out Repeat Sex Offender Charged In New Rape

Rachael Rollins, speaking Tuesday, June 2, at the gates of the Massachusetts State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Rachael Rollins, speaking Tuesday, June 2, at the gates of the Massachusetts State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins excoriated the Massachusetts Bail Fund on Tuesday after the group posted bail for convicted sex offender and rapist Shawn McClinton, whom police say violently assaulted and raped another woman on Thursday — three weeks after his release.

In a statement, Rollins did not hold back in her criticism of the bail fund, calling its decision to post McClinton's bail "the act of a coward."

"I would have so much more respect for the Bail Fund if they had bailed him out and then let him stay in one of their homes. Because that’s what family members and friends usually do when they bail a loved one out," she said. "Not bail them out, set them loose on a community they don’t live in, and drive back to the safety of their homes.”

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross also roundly criticized the bail fund, calling the consequences of the organization's actions "appalling."

“I hope they never get a wink of sleep,” he told the Boston Herald. “This could have been prevented.”

McClinton, who is homeless, had been held on bail since 2018 after, allegedly raping a woman in a McDonald's bathroom. He was released last month when the Massachusetts Bail Fund helped him post his $15,000 bail.

According to court documents filed by the Boston Police Department, McClinton now faces new charges after allegedly holding a woman at knifepoint before strangling and raping her in a Boston apartment last Wednesday.

McClinton was arraigned on Thursday, and ordered held on $500,000 bail.

Rollins, who has at times been criticized for her position of prosecutorial leniency toward nonviolent crimes, said that the Bail Fund's position stands in opposition to a real progressive vision of criminal justice reform.

"What I find interesting about the Bail Fund’s recent behavior of posting higher bails for violent serious crimes ... is that any incentive for good behavior by the alleged offender is removed," she wrote. "There is no pressure applied to the accused by the Bail Fund. Rather, their mantra is ‘Free Them All.’ "

The group's public position is that prosecutors should not use bail to hold people in jail who do not have the ability to pay. The Massachusetts Bail Fund had yet to respond to requests for comment from multiple outlets at the time of this story's publication.

Rollins told WBUR that this lack of response from the bail fund is yet another reason for her frustration with the organization.

"If you make the bold decision to bail out a rapist and level 3 sex offender, and then you hide and don't make a comment supporting why you did it, you're going to hear some strong words in response to that," she said.

Liam Knox Twitter Digital Producer
Freelance digital producer for On Point and WBUR news. 

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