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Winthrop teen charged in attack on disabled man

A Winthrop teenager is facing charges that he beat a developmentally disabled man and fractured his jaw, prosecutors said.

“This was an utterly shameful example of unprovoked violence against a person who could not defend himself,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “It was the act of a coward and a bully.”

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Anthony Gallo, 17, is accused of punching the 59-year-old disabled man in the face Tuesday night on Pauline Street. The victim encountered Gallo and two other young men in a parking lot, where the youths were apparently drinking and shaking a car, according to the district attorney’s office.

The victim told Gallo and his friends to stop their behavior, sparking a verbal altercation that ended with the victim allegedly being punched in the face. Gallo used epithets mocking the victim's disability during the interaction, prosecutors said.

The alleged victim notified Winthrop police the next afternoon. He was subsequently taken to Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett and then to Massachusetts General Hospital for surgery, prosecutors said. He was released from the hospital Friday.

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said he has cultivated a relationship with the victim, whom he referred to as Richie, dating back to when DeLeo was a selectmen in Winthrop more than 20 years ago.

“I just can’t tell you the anger I have over this,” DeLeo said. “Richie never hurt a fly.”

DeLeo said the man, who does not own a car, made a 2-mile trek from Winthrop to East Boston on a cold, snowy January day to attend the funeral for DeLeo’s father.

“He’s a warm-hearted gentleman,” DeLeo said.

Gallo was charged in East Boston District Court Thursday with assault and battery and causing injury while violating a person’s civil rights, prosecutors said. The maximum penalty for the civil rights charge is 10 years in jail, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the district attorney. A not-guilty plea was automatically entered.

Judge Robert Ronquillo Jr. released Gallo on his own recognizance Thursday, but ordered him to stay away from the victim and to stay alcohol-free.

Gallo is slated to return to court Oct. 1 for a pretrial conference, Conley’s office said.

Jasper Craven can be reached at jasper.craven@globe.com or on Twitter @Jasper_Craven
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