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Former Athol man going to prison for child rape

GREENFIELD — Seven to 10 years in a state prison followed by 10 years of probation was the sentence handed down for convicted child-rapist Joshua Matthews.

Judge Mary-Lou Rup sentenced Matthews on Monday in Greenfield Superior Court following sentencing recommendations from the defense and prosecution lawyers.

A jury in April found the former Athol resident guilty of two counts of forcible rape of a child, not guilty of two additional charges: assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Matthews, now 24 and a Keene, N.H., resident, committed the crimes in 2007 when he was 17 and 18 by the judge’s calculation.

The victim, his foster brother, was 7 years old at the time of the first rape for which Matthews was convicted.

Assistant District Attorney Carrie M. Russell asked for a sentence of 15-20 years in state prison, combining the sentence guidelines for both counts.

Russell said there were three aggravating factors in the case calling for the stiffer sentence, the offenses were committed on a child at a vulnerable age, the assaults were repeated, and Matthews was a person in a position of trust as the victim’s older brother in the foster family.

Russell described Matthews as an opportunistic predator and said there have been allegations from another victim, a young female.

Rup said she would not consider the alleged uncharged offenses in her sentencing.

Matthews’ lawyer, Timothy Flynn, said that his client is now 24 and has lived for five years as a productive member of society with one minor possession case continued without a finding.

Flynn said Matthews maintains his innocence and again raised the defence that the victim was confusing the rapes with the incident that led to his placement in foster care in the first place, and asked that any sentence be in the House of Corrections.

Rup said she had taken into consideration Matthews age at the time and minor record, which she said indicate something less than the sentencing guidelines, but forcible rape of child 10 years younger in his home, and the numerous incidents presented in the evidence called for more than the 2-21∕2 years possible in a House of Corrections.

Rup imposed the seven-to-ten year sentence for the first count, to be served in MCI-Cedar Junction, South Walpole, with credit for 68 days’ time served. The ten years’ probation attaches to the second count.

“I want to wish the victim and his mothers good luck in the future, I hope you’re someday able to put this behind you,” Rup said.

Outside the courtroom, the mothers said they were satisfied Matthews got state time, and thanked victim advocates for their help.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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