Articles on the Fells Acres Day-care Ritual-abuse case

by Hugo S. Cunningham

first posted 990527
last updated Y10206
latest minor change 20050506

Copyright 1999, 2001 by Hugo S. Cunningham


150-word summary

Starting in 1984, the office of Middlesex County DA Scott Harshbarger announced that Violet Amirault, her daughter Cheryl Amirault LeFave, and her son Gerald Amirault, owners of the successful 20-year-old Fells Acres day-care center in Malden MA, had suddenly converted it into a factory of child pornography and the most horrifying ritual abuse of helpless toddlers. Juries were persuaded to convict the Amiraults in 1986 (Gerald) and 1987 (Violet and Cheryl), due exclusively to the coached testimony of 3- and 4-year old children. No physical evidence or adult witness for any of the charges was ever found, despite the fact that the day-care center had always been open to a steady stream of unannounced parents and tradesmen. Starting in 1991, psychologists demonstrated how the leading questions used in cases like Fells Acres can brainwash child witnesses, but the Massachusetts legal establishment has, despite the valiant efforts of three Middlesex County trial judges, refused to correct a scandal.

Update: Gerald Amirault, the last of the Fells Acres defendants, was released on parole 18 years later (30 April 2004). Massachusetts case law, investigative practices, and politics remain under the taint of this case, however.

Articles, 1997-1998

Some Articles on Fells Acres since 1998

An infamous ruling by the MA Supreme Judicial Court, and comments

Cheryl free on plea-bargain, but Gerald remains in prison

Gerald Amirault's case

Some links on related subjects

Return to Bob Chatelle's Fells Acres report (most up-to-date coverage)

Return to HSC's 1997 report on Fells Acres

Return to HSC home page

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