Somerville teen never in trouble before, lawyer says
One of three arrested in alleged sex assault on weekend retreat
The lawyer for 17-year-old Galileo Mondol, one of three Somerville teens arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting several underclassman members of Somerville High School's junior varsity boys' soccer team, defended his client Monday as "a good kid who has never been in trouble before."
The alleged attack occurred during an annual weekend-long retreat in Otis for members of the high school's soccer and football teams. According to Berkshire County prosecutors, Mondol and two 16-year-olds, who were not named because they are juveniles, entered a freshman cabin and assaulted three of their soccer teammates.
Attorney William Korman called Mondol "a very mature young man" who was looking forward to his first year at Somerville High School after transferring from Thayer Academy in Braintree.
"He's very bright and he understands what's going on here and how serious these charges are," Korman said. "He emphatically maintains his innocence, but he's nervous to be 17 and charged with a slew of felonies."
Mondol is to be arraigned Tuesday at the Central Berkshire District Court in Pittsfield on one count of aggravated rape of a child under the age of 16, two counts of assault with intent to rape a child under 16, one count of indecent assault and battery, three counts of assault and battery, and three counts of witness intimidation.
Somerville officials told the Globe on Sunday that the alleged attacks took place in the daytime in a cabin with supervising adults nearby; more specifics of the alleged attacks were not expected to emerge until Tuesday's hearing.
Mondol is being held on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction in Pittsfield. Korman called the bail "practically punitive" and said he anticipated asking a judge to set a lower amount.
The lawyer said Mondol has the support of his family and is maintaining his composure.
"He wants to move this case along as fast as possible, because he knows at the end he'll be found not guilty," Korman said. "I think it says a lot about his character that when we talked about the length of the case, he was concerned about catching up with his AP physics homework."
Korman declined to lay out Mondol's version of the alleged events or detail any defense strategy, saying only that he was waiting to receive more information from prosecutors.
Meanwhile, some Somerville parents have praised city school officials for their response to the widely publicized case.
"The administration has acted proactively and appropriately, with multiple meetings for parents and [by] making counselors available," said Jane Becker, whose daughter attended the retreat as a senior on the girls' varsity soccer team.
Becker said in an e-mail to the Globe that athletes at the high school "are trained to avoid bullying and hazing and my daughter has never experienced any such behavior on the teams she has been on."
Paula Woolley, a member of Somerville High School parent-teacher groups, said she could not reconcile the allegations with her experiences as a parent. Woolley's son graduated in 2012, and spent four years on the school's track and field team.
"His experience was that the older team members were mentors," she said in an e-mail. "I'm extremely horrified by what happened, as it's totally the opposite of our family's experience of Somerville High's athletic program."
Woolley said students received frequent anti-hazing training, and seemed to take those warnings seriously. "The atmosphere was one of respect and friendliness, never one that would end up with hazing, let alone rape," she said.
Woolley also has a daughter, now a sixth-grader, and said she would have "no qualms" about letting her participate in high school sports, "because of all the good her brother got from his experience," Woolley said. The alleged assaults, she said, were "a shocking aberration in a wonderful program."