A 17-year-old Mattapan resident was arraigned on a charge of assault and battery on a person over 60 causing serious bodily injury in the Dorchester Division of Boston Municipal Court Wednesday for an incident in which she allegedly attacked the principal of the Dr. William W. Henderson K–12 Inclusion School last November.
Laurette LeRouge, who was 16 at the time of the alleged attack, was originally arraigned in juvenile court on similar charges a day after the incident, but District Attorney Kevin Hayden is now seeking to prosecute her as a “youthful offender.” That status, the product of a 1996 criminal justice bill, would allow her to receive an adult sentence and also opened the juvenile proceeding, which are normally behind closed doors, to the public.
“Our priority is to keep young people out of the court system through diversion programs and other alternatives to prosecution. But the severity of this attack justifies an approach that will provide a judge more sentencing options than are available under traditional juvenile procedures,” Hayden said in a statement released by his office Wednesday night.
The new charge supersedes the previous ones.
LeRouge allegedly repeatedly punched principal Patricia M. Lampron in the head, knocking her unconscious for at least four minutes, the Globe reported at the time. Lampron was hospitalized, and the district closed the school for several days.
Then-Superintendent Brenda Cassellius announced new, beefed-up security protocols at the school to quell student and parent concerns over safety two days after the incident.
The alleged attack was the first in a series of violent incidents at the school. Less than a month after Lampron’s incident, a student who is blind was violently attacked in a bathroom, and in February of this year, two teachers were injured while breaking up a fight. Boston City Councilwoman Erin Murphy told the Globe in December 2021 that some parents were so concerned they began considering parochial schools for their students.
LeRouge was already serving several pretrial conditions, including a stay-away order for the victim and the Henderson school, electronic monitoring, and home confinement. Those conditions were ordered to be continued during Wednesday’s arraignment.
LeRouge’s lawyer, Patrick J. Colvario, said she was doing “relatively well” serving her bail conditions and is participating in Heal Boston, a youth group run by a Boston police officer.
Initially, LeRouge did not appear in court on Wednesday. Colvario told the judge he had only learned the arraignment would be open to the media yesterday, which did not give him enough time to prepare his client for a “perp walk” through “a gauntlet of press,” and he asked LeRouge be allowed to appear via Zoom.
The media hounded the family, knocking on their door “at all hours of the night” late last year after portions of a police report were released, Colvario said.
Assistant district attorney Elizabeth Teebagy “strongly objected” to Colvario’s motion, saying defendants are expected to appear in person at arraignments and LeRouge should not receive special treatment.
Judge Sylvia Gomes denied the defense’s motion and ordered LeRouge to appear in court, which she did two and a half hours later, accompanied by her mother and several siblings.
Several of Lampron’s family members and supporters attended the arraignment as well.
On the way out of court, both families declined to comment to media.
Leon Smith of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, a non-profit advocacy group, said Hayden was wrong to prosecute LeRouge, who was 16 years old at the time of the incident, as a youthful offender.
“We believe that there are sufficient sanctions — and resources — in the juvenile delinquency process to hold a young person accountable for this type of behavior while also providing the necessary supervision and developmentally appropriate approach needed to address the youth’s needs,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Correspondent Nick Stoico contributed to this story.