(emphasis mine) Pretend, for a moment, that you are a dad. It’s one of those lazy Sundays of summer, and you decide to bring your four-year-old son with you to the local supermarket.“I have to go potty,” the boy says, doing that funny little dance that all kids do. And so you park your cart at the front of the store, and escort him into the men’s room.
While in the bathroom you discover that, as your son is in the stall and taking care of his business, a store employee in the adjacent stall has reached under the common wall and is running his hand along the boy’s thigh. Reacting as any father would do, you kick open the employee’s stall and, in an effort to stop him from molesting your son, you punch him straight in the mouth.
Then, imagine that both you and the employee are charged — the employee with indecent assault and battery on a child, you with assault and battery. It would boggle the mind, wouldn’t it?
Well, ask Jason Beatrice. On Sunday, June 1, 2008, Beatrice and his four-year-old son were shopping at Market Basket, a supermarket in Raynham, Massachusetts. According to the Taunton Daily Gazette, while Beatrice’s son was in the bathroom stall, standing on a bucket so he’d be tall enough to use the toilet, 71-year-old Valerio Rodriguez–an illegal immigrant from Guatemala working in the grocery store–reached under the shared wall from an adjoining stall and touched the boy “high on the leg.” Beatrice felt as though Rodriguez, who later told police through an interpreter that he was “just fooling around,” posed a threat to his son, so he broke down the door and punched him.
Rodriguez was charged with felony indecent assault and battery on a child, but was released and promptly fled to Guatemala. He wasn’t even fired by the supermarket, and was spotted by Beatrice a month later “pushing a mop bucket” and “smiling at children.” Beatrice was charged with assault, but had that charge later dropped and faced only a reduced charge of battery because Rodriquez skipped the country. The Raynham Police Chief, Lou Pacheco, stated that Rodriguez was not arrested and held because he “posed no threat to the public,” and said that he was “shocked” that the illegal Guatemalan immigrant missed his arraignment. On the charges remaining against Beatrice, the Massachusetts Attorney General had this to say:
“We can’t have people taking the law into their own hands. The father should have waited for police.”
That Massachusetts Attorney General was Martha Coakley, currently running as a Democrat for the late Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat in the Bay State.
Continue reading An egregious lapse in judgment