Former Taunton teacher avoids trial in child rape case
TAUNTON — A week ago, former Taunton High School teacher Patrick R. Doyle sat in a courtroom and listened as a prosecutor detailed the 2012 rapes of two 14-year-old girls.
One had been assaulted in a classroom and the other at Doyle’s apartment in Seekonk, the prosecution said. Both girls were eighth-graders.
Once the prosecutor finished, Judge Merita Hopkins turned to Doyle, 36, and asked: “Did you in fact do the acts described to this court?”
“I did,” he said, according to a recording of the hearing.
On Tuesday, Doyle went before Hopkins again in Bristol Superior Court to begin a prison term of five to seven years for raping the girls, whom he had met while teaching eighth-grade social studies.
Doyle, who had been free on $150,000 bail and GPS monitoring while awaiting trial, dressed casually for his surrender in a long-sleeved Boston Red Sox World Series shirt and blue jeans.
Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said Doyle admitted to his crimes and was “punished adequately.” The prosecution could not locate one of Doyle’s accusers, but he admitted to assaulting her when he pleaded guilty Sept. 1 to two counts of child rape, Quinn said.
The other student whom Doyle was charged with raping was present when he pleaded guilty, but did not speak in court.
“He himself has been held accountable, and the victim has been vindicated,” Quinn said in a telephone interview. “She has the satisfaction that he admitted what he did with her.”
Prosecutors alleged the rapes occurred after Doyle, then 33, exchanged text messages with the two girls. One girl was a student in Doyle’s history class and the other was not, Bristol Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg said in court Sept. 1.
Quinn said Doyle’s punishment was reasonable given the age difference between him and the girls and his role as an educator. “When you have a person in a position of trust and authority which you do have with a teacher I think it’s an aggravating situation,” he said.
The girl who was not in Doyle’s class had a flirtatious rapport with the teacher, Bomberg said. At some point between April and June 2012, she went to Doyle’s classroom, where he kissed and sexually assaulted her, Bomberg said.
The teen who was enrolled in Doyle’s class got his cellphone number while looking at his phone, Bomberg said. She began texting Doyle on April 25, 2012, and within a few hours their messages “included talk about sexual matters,” he said. Doyle later picked the girl up in Taunton and drove her to his residence in Seekonk, where, the prosecution said, she was raped.
Doyle sent both girls sexually explicit photographs, Bomberg said. The allegations came to light in June 2012 after school administrators learned Doyle had been exchanging text messages with students and notified police, the prosecutor said.
Taunton schools Superintendent Julie Hackett said Doyle was terminated and she had no further comment on the matter.
Aside from the rape charges, Doyle pleaded guilty to two counts of disseminating matter harmful to minors and was ordered to serve five years of probation once he is released from prison. He must wear a GPS monitoring device during that time. Prosecutors agreed not to pursue the remaining charges Doyle faced.
Defense attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis declined to comment.
Doyle’s trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday. He faced a maximum penalty of life in prison on the child rape charges, the prosecution said.
Doyle must also register as a sex offender, participate in sexual abuse perpetrator counseling, and refrain from employment or volunteer work that puts him in contact with minor children.
At last week’s hearing, Judge Hopkins said she had read a statement prepared by one of the victims. Hopkins addressed the girl, now 17, directly without disclosing what she had written. “It sounds like you’ve worked really hard and you are really succeeding very well. Stay on that road,” Hopkins said. “You can work to overcome this as you have done diligently and I commend you for that.”
• 6/27/12: Accused teacher in Taunton faces firing
• 6/23/12: Teacher accused of rape released on bail