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“The King of Second Chances”

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This is a chilling account of the women beaten and in one case killed because the son of a celebrity was continually let off the hook, including by at least two judges who winked at serious cases of domestic abuse:

JARED REMY HAD GLIDED THROUGH his first five criminal cases, but prosecutors thought the sixth one would be different.

Compared to what he had been charged with in the past — beating and choking his ex-girlfriend while she held their baby, cracking a friend over the head with a beer bottle in a jealous fit, elbowing and cursing out a police officer — the case that landed in Lowell District Court in January 2001 seemed minor: Threatening to commit a crime.

But for the first time, prosecutors had a victim willing to testify against Remy, son of one of the most beloved figures in New England.

He was 22 and could not keep a job or stay out of trouble. His parents had hired him the same high-priced lawyer who had prevailed over the district court prosecutors in Jared’s prior cases. So far that lawyer was five for five, sparing Remy jail time, a guilty finding, or anything more than temporary probation.

But prosecutor Joshua E. Friedman did not see Jerry Remy’s son as a young man with a record clean of convictions, charged now with a minor offense. He saw him as steroidal and entitled, violent and unrepentant. Tiffany Guyette, his alleged victim, saw him that way, too. She said Remy had been abusing her since she got pregnant by him at 15, four years earlier.

Since then, Guyette said, he had tried to push her from a moving car while she was pregnant, waited for her in the dark with a baseball bat, and repeatedly paged her with the number 187, street slang for murder.

For all that, however, she had not spoken against him in court before, believing his promises that he would change, she said.

Then a counselor told her she needed to stand up to break the cycle of abuse. So when Remy allegedly unleashed another death threat over the phone, Guyette notified police. She resolved to face him in court.

She wrote a letter to the judge, describing her “roller coaster” experience and warning that Remy was growing more brazen. She did not know if he could be redeemed, but held out hope that the right message — his first “guilty” finding, time behind bars, and meaningful counseling — could restore the “sweet and caring Jared” she once knew.

Prosecutor Friedman agreed, wanting a “short, sharp sentence to hopefully teach him some kind of lesson that this was not OK.”

The judge set trial for June. But Guyette never got the chance to testify. When they reconvened, Judge Neil J. Walker accepted a proposal from defense lawyer Peter Bella. Over the prosecutor’s objections, Walker continued and then dismissed the case.

Thirteen years, 14 more cases, and one murder count against Remy later, Guyette’s letter remains on file in Lowell, its last line hauntingly prescient. “If he does not learn to handle his anger,” she warned, “he could ultimately hurt me, my son, someone else, or himself.”

Remy’s extensive history of violence, as most of you know, has allegedly culminated in murder of his partner. Alas, no matter how many people he assaulted, he was never guilty of a an actually serious offense, like “being a black person in possession of the wrong kind of drugs.”

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