Athol man gets 6 to 8 years for child rape

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 03-22-2022 4:40 PM

GREENFIELD — An Athol man has been sentenced to six to eight years in prison on child rape charges, three weeks after his plea hearing was suspended in progress to allow him more time to consult with his attorney regarding the essential facts laid out by the prosecution.

Mark Bakerlis, 57, appeared before Judge Francis Flannery in Franklin County Superior Court on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to 12 charges. He will serve time at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Cedar Junction, a maximum-security prison in Walpole, and then register as a sex offender and spend eight years on probation.

Bakerlis attended his initial plea hearing via Zoom from the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction on Feb. 28. But he took issue with a couple of details read aloud by Assistant District Attorney Lori Odierna, who prosecuted the case, during her statement of essential facts, which Flannery said is a critical part of the process. When the judge asked the defendant if the prosecutor’s details were accurate, Bakerlis replied, “No, not all of them.”

“I just know some of the facts are lies — never happened,” he said through tears.

Flannery decided to suspend the hearing so Bakerlis could consult with defense attorney David Simanski.

On Monday, a handcuffed Bakerlis was assisted into the courtroom by court officers. Bakerlis pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14, three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child 14 years old or older, four counts of rape of a child under 16 years of age, one count of posing or exhibiting a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct, and one count of dissemination of material harmful to a minor. He was sentenced to not less than six years and not more than eight years at Cedar Junction for two of the rape charges, and eight years of probation for the other 10 offenses.

Detailing the allegations against Bakerlis in court, Odierna said Bakerlis, for roughly five years starting in 2016, repeatedly assaulted a teenage girl known to him. The charge of dissemination of material harmful to a minor stems from Bakerlis allegedly watching adult pornography while the victim was in his apartment. According to Odierna, the victim told authorities she would visit his apartment to borrow DVDs and initially refrained from telling anyone about the sexual abuse because she feared no longer being able to borrow movies. When Flannery asked if Odierna’s details were accurate, Bakerlis paused before answering in the affirmative.

Odierna said Bakerlis was present at the apartment when police executed a search warrant in February 2021 and he agreed to speak with authorities. He allegedly admitted to some of the allegations at the time and was arrested.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

‘Mental health shouldn’t be shamed’: Shelburne family advises to heed lost life as warning
Warmth, hospitality drive new Turners Falls brunch restaurant
Blessed Trinity poised to open Franklin County’s only Catholic preschool
Greenfield restaurant to be featured on America’s Best Restaurants
Real Estate Transactions: June 21, 2024
PHOTOS: Green River Festival gets underway after rain delay

Simanski told Flannery this was a tragic case for everyone involved and a perfect outcome was impossible.

“No winners here, sir,” he told the judge.

Simanski said his client is extraordinarily remorseful, is taking responsibility for his actions and has been cooperative throughout the process.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

]]>