Dorman sentencing postponed to Oct. 4

Staff Writer
Published: 9/20/2019 6:51:05 PM
Modified: 9/20/2019 6:50:51 PM

SHUTESBURY — This week’s sentencing of a Shutesbury man convicted of assaulting a neighbor, allegedly as a result of racist and homophobic sentiment, was postponed until Oct. 4.

The lawyer representing Edgar W. Dorman, 78, of Leverett Road, was unable to make it to Orange District Court on Tuesday, forcing the rescheduling. Dorman’s lawyer is Nora Allard.

On Aug. 30, Dorman was convicted of four of the seven charges he faced stemming from an Aug. 14, 2018, incident with Rolf Cachat-Schilling. A jury found Dorman guilty of assault and battery, a civil rights violation (right to housing), threatening to commit a crime and criminal harassment. He was found not guilty of assault and battery to intimidate, violating an harassment order and violating someone’s right to practice religion.

The plaintiff and defendant offer differing accounts of what happened. Cachat-Schilling, 57, claims Dorman attacked him after a few years of verbal harassment. Dorman, however, claims Cachat-Schilling started the physical altercation.

Cachat-Schilling, a married gay Native American of part Mohawk and Nipmuc ancestry, told the Greenfield Recorder that Dorman started badgering him and his family shortly after Cachat-Schilling’s family moved in across the street about four years ago. Cachat-Schilling claims the harassment included Dorman threatening to shoot him, telling him to leave the neighborhood, and calling him slurs that related to his sexual preference and heritage.

Cachat-Schilling, a medicine elder, claims he was preparing for the third day of a week-long sacred traditional ceremony to honor the dead when Dorman came over on a riding lawnmower and destroyed part of a medicinal garden before attacking him. Cachat-Schilling said he tried to tell Dorman to leave him alone, and Cachat-Schilling took his attacker to the ground because he reached for something in his pocket and he believed Dorman was going to stab him.

Cachat-Schilling said his nose was broken in two places and he suffered soft tissue damage in his hands that requires physical therapy to this day, affecting his work as an editor and translator. He said he managed to escape the attack, run inside his house and call 911.

But Dorman doesn’t recall the incident that way. He claims he was mowing around a mailbox on public property when “this crazy person grabbed me by the neck and threw” him off the riding lawnmower and started choking him. Dorman said he injured Cachat-Schilling while fighting in self-defense. He also said he and his wife have no prejudices against people of different races or sexual orientations, though he does admit to saying one of the slurs.

“None of that’s true,” Cachat-Schilling said of Dorman’s account of the incident, adding that Dorman lied throughout the trial, which lasted from Aug. 28 until the jury’s verdict on Aug. 30.

Cachat-Schilling said the issue seems to have started when he and his husband got involved in a lawsuit to contest plans to build a large-scale solar array on a 30-acre parcel, which contains Native American burial grounds, on Pratt Corner Road. He claims Dorman often harassed him about the lawsuit. Cachat-Schilling said Dorman made an illegal brush fire that filled Cachat-Schilling’s house with smoke, resulting in his dog’s death.

Cachat-Schilling said he and his family have moved as a result of the trauma and the perceived danger of living near Dorman. He said he has a three-year, 150-foot protection order against Dorman.

He also claims the Shutesbury Police Department did not properly handle the situation. He said responding officer Wendy Masiuk wanted to file charges, but wasn’t allowed to.

Cachat-Schilling said he had to file his own charges against Dorman. He said Police Chief Dan Fernandes did not seem to take the complaint seriously, told him he had to find a way to get along with his neighbors and told Dorman to portray himself as the victim. Fernandes, however, denies this claim and also said Masiuk was never discouraged from filing charges.

“The Shutesbury Police Department was acting in the same way they would act on any other case,” Fernandes said.

Fernandes explained he was the department’s officer-in-charge at the time of the incident, filling in for an injured police chief. Fernandes became chief in October 2018.

Dorman is expected to be back in Orange District Court for sentencing on Oct. 4.

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




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