On a cold December morning 4 years in the past, three Concord High School college students approached a faculty administrative assistant and requested her if they might speak about one thing non-public.
“We didn’t need anybody to know we had been those who advised,” the scholars stated, in response to a report revealed by unbiased investigator Djuna Perkins a 12 months later. “We had been driving and we stopped at a cease mild and appeared in the rearview mirror and we noticed Mr. Leung and a pupil. She had her head on his shoulder and he leaned over and kissed her brow.”
It’s been greater than 4 years since these first reviews had been made on Dec. 10, 2018, that led to the arrest of former Concord instructor Howie Leung in April 2019, however in Massachusetts, a jury trial on baby rape charges has but to happen. Earlier this month, the trial which was scheduled to start Tuesday, was rescheduled for the sixth time, pushing it to September 2023.
Since August 2019, Leung has been out on pretrial supervised release, dwelling in Malden, Massachusetts, in response to courtroom paperwork, and abiding by an inventory of bail circumstances that embody carrying a GPS monitoring ankle bracelet and sustaining a curfew between midnight and 6 a.m. He is required to steer clear of the Fessenden School and Concord public colleges and to remain out of New Hampshire altogether, aside from medical appointments with 48-hours discover.
The Massachusetts Office of the Commissioner of Probation declined to offer data about Leung’s adherence to the bail circumstances, or about what number of instances Leung has traveled to New Hampshire in the final three years.
Leung can also be banned from having contact with an inventory of individuals: the sufferer and her household, a special Concord School District pupil who assisted him on the Fessenden School and all Concord School District personnel and college students. He’s banned from unsupervised contact with youngsters beneath 16, and he’s no longer allowed to work or volunteer with youngsters beneath 16. However, the bail circumstances point out no restrictions on digital communications, or contacting different former college students not particularly outlined.
Leung is going through two charges of aggravated rape of a kid with a 10-year age distinction, two charges of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a toddler beneath age 14 and two counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on an individual age 14 or older. He has pleaded not responsible to all charges.
The report by Perkins revealed in September 2019 pointed to years of warning indicators that directors on the time didn’t deal with, together with “informal” method and physique language with college students, shopping for meals and occasional for a gaggle of scholars and favoring sure college students for initiatives and actions. Sexual assault prevention advocates have since described it as grooming conduct.
Despite clear warning indicators, directors on the time protected Leung. When a middle-school pupil spoke out in 2014 concerning the favoritism Leung displayed towards her classmates, she was suspended by the principal for “gossiping.” Months later, the sexual abuse of a Concord pupil started, in response to courtroom data.
In 2016, Leung adopted the identical group of women from eighth grade to the highschool after he accepted a brand new job at Concord High. Eventually the coed left Concord public colleges. In 2017, Leung met a 16-year outdated woman who would later turn into the coed he was seen kissing in a automotive, she stated in courtroom paperwork.
In a restraining order taken out three months after Leung’s arrest, the 18-year-old wrote that Leung initiated a relationship together with her in June 2018, when she was 17, and when she tried to depart the connection, he “coerced” her into staying. While the varsity district started their investigation of the connection in December 2018, no one advised Leung to cease contact with the woman till the top of January 2019, in response to the Perkins report.
“I used to be upset and didn’t discuss to him in school, so he confirmed up at my home and wished an evidence,” the 18-year-old Concord pupil wrote in the restraining order. “Shortly after the varsity requested him to not have contact with me, however he ignored that order and the connection escalated. From mid-December 2018 by means of February 2019 he would come to my dwelling nearly daily after college. I continued to attempt to go away the connection a number of instances, however he continued to indicate up, name and message.”
Days earlier than his arrest, Leung is accused of giving her $10,000 in money.
The former pupil, now 22, acquired $1 million from the Concord School District in February 2022 as a part of a settlement settlement.
At the top of January 2019, then-superintendent Terri Forsten submitted a report back to the State Dept. of Education. The state alerted police, who positioned the previous Rundlett Middle School pupil who was recognized by means of the district’s e mail server. In subsequent interviews with New Hampshire regulation enforcement, the woman reported that she had been assaulted by Leung on the Fessenden School summer time ELL program throughout the summers of 2014 and 2015 when she was 13 and 14 years outdated.
In her report, Perkins expressed concern about extra potential victims, and famous that she introduced her considerations to Concord Police.
“As I discovered extra about Leung’s strategies, I turned involved that Leung could have engaged in sexual misconduct with extra college students,” Perkins wrote. “In July , the District acquired an nameless name figuring out a 3rd pupil, [redacted], as a possible sufferer; and I found info that prompted concern a couple of fourth.”
When Leung was arrested at Concord Hospital the morning of April 3, 2019, it was as a fugitive of justice from Massachusetts, as probably the most critical charges accused him of sexually assaulting the previous Concord pupil whereas on the Fessenden School in West Newton, Massachusetts. Leung was on the hospital when taken into custody as a result of he tried suicide, police stated, after he was warned of his impending arrest.
Concord police and Perkins famous different situations the place Leung was accused of sexually assaulting the woman – who was in center college on the time – in New Hampshire. Merrimack County’s prime prosecutor has not commented on why Leung has not been charged with any crimes in New Hampshire. The Attorney General’s Office had no remark about any plans to cost Leung in New Hampshire. Concord Police Chief Bradley Osgood had little to say aside from the division considers the case to nonetheless be an open investigation.
Within two weeks of the arrest he was transported to Massachusetts, the place he was arraigned, held and finally launched on bail 5 months later in September, 2019.
But in the final three years, Leung’s Massachusetts jury trial has been postponed six instances, prolonging closure to the case.
Earlier this month, New Hampshire lawyer Mark Rufo, who represents the previous Concord pupil, Fabiana McLeod, expressed dissatisfaction with the delays. The Monitor doesn’t sometimes title victims of sexual abuse, until they select to be recognized. McLeod got here ahead publicly in May 2021 whereas filing a civil lawsuit in opposition to the Fessenden School, saying on the time that she wished to assist defend others.
“We really feel it’s been occurring for too lengthy and there’s an excessive amount of concern for the rights of the accused and never sufficient concern for the rights of the sufferer,” Rufo stated on the time.
The trial, which was initially scheduled for June 2020, was postponed to November 2020, and once more to May 2021 when Massachusetts paused jury trials because of the COVID-19 emergency, which created a backlog that lasted months.
But as the brand new date of May 4, 2021 drew close to, Assistant District Attorney Allison Brown and Leung’s protection lawyer Ghazi Al-Marayati submitted a joint request for the trial to be rescheduled to January 2022, citing the “critical and sophisticated” nature of the case. In asking for extra preparation time, the 2 cited the truth that Brown had solely lately taken over duty for the case from Assistant District Attorney Radu Brestyan, that the quantity of documentary proof is “voluminous” and the quantity of digital information “extraordinarily giant.” They additionally talked about witnesses.
“The case entails a comparatively giant variety of witnesses, most of whom are out of state, together with cops, investigators, college staff and others,” Brown and Al-Marayati wrote. “Obtaining the attendance of a number of the witnesses could require that they be summoned from out-of-state, requiring authorized proceedings in the overseas state.”
A decide agreed to postpone to January 25, 2022, however as the brand new date neared the 2 submitted one other joint movement, asking to bump the case to June 2022, this time to permit Leung’s protection lawyer to acquire extra proof.
According to the movement, new info was revealed to each events when McLeod filed a separate civil lawsuit in opposition to the Fessenden School in May 2021, together with a declare that she had been given alcohol and marijuana at Fessenden School employees events and a declare that Leung assaulted her at a resort throughout a Fessenden program journey to New York City. Since these particulars weren’t raised throughout early interviews with New Hampshire police, Leung’s lawyer views the data as inconsistent and an instance of “exculpatory proof” that’s favorable to Leung. In addition, the protection lawyer wished to acquire McLeod’s remedy data, saying that they may be thought-about essential items of proof in the event that they comprise no point out of assault.
“The defendant is deeply involved concerning the prospect of this case continuing to trial with out the defendant having a chance to acquire data that seem prone to comprise exculpatory info,” Al-Marayati wrote. “It would appear to the defendant to be a really unfair end result for a legal trial to happen with out the defendant accessing what may very nicely turn into probably the most essential proof in the case.”
A decide accepted rescheduling to June 10, 2022, however 5 months later trial date was postponed for a fifth time, to January 2023. The Middlesex District Attorney’s workplace stated in August that the trial was rescheduled “so each events can assessment data in the case.” But the doc explaining the explanation for the fifth delay is at present “impounded” in Massachusetts Superior Court, which means it’s hid from public inspection. According to the Middlesex Superior Court Clerk’s workplace, the doc was impounded as a result of it incorporates “medical/well being info of counsel.”
Earlier this month, the January trial was rescheduled for a sixth time, pushing it 9 months forward to Sept. 6, 2023. The newest joint movement to reschedule says Brown is planning to depart her place, and Assistant District Attorney Thomas Brant, the third consecutive state prosecutor to imagine duty for the case, “is not going to be prepared” by January.
The movement additionally reveals that Al-Marayati needs extra time to assessment new proof, together with a video interview with New Jersey police referring to the New York City journey allegations, the remedy data and a few new picture and video proof that McLeod offered to the Newton Police Department.
“Defense counsel wants extra time to assessment these data and make determinations regarding trial witnesses, and, if needed, to safe the attendance of witnesses probably from a number of overseas states,” the movement reads.
While the Massachusetts case continues to face delays, the case in opposition to Leung stays open in New Hampshire. Prosecutors haven’t introduced any sexual assault charges in opposition to Leung in New Hampshire, regardless of reviews that abuses occurred in the Granite State.
A Concord Police affidavit filed the day of Leung’s arrest says their investigation yielded reviews from a former center college pupil that Leung abused her between 2014 and 2016 in each New Hampshire and Massachusetts. According to the Perkins report, e mail exchanges between Leung and the underage pupil counsel the abuse started as early as February 2015, 4 months earlier than the coed crossed state strains to work on the Fessenden School in Massachusetts.
New Jersey regulation enforcement officers have additionally been made conscious of allegations that Leung assaulted McLeod at New Jersey resort whereas the Fessenden summer time ELL program was on a category journey to New York City, in response to courtroom paperwork. A video interview with New Jersey police regarding new allegations is among the many proof that the state of Massachusetts offered to Leung’s lawyer in current months. So far no charges have been filed in New Jersey, in response to the prosecutor’s workplace in Bergen County, New Jersey, they usually declined to say whether or not there may be an investigation underway.
McLeod’s household filed a civil lawsuit in opposition to the Fessenden School in Massachusetts in May 2021. The swimsuit accuses the varsity and its directors of negligence and failing to guard their daughter, who was a Rundlett Middle School pupil, from sexual harassment, exploitation and intercourse trafficking by the hands of Leung who was a Fessenden summer time program director.
“She’s been dwelling with this factor and she or he’s nonetheless dwelling with it. She doesn’t need this to occur to anybody else,” Rufo stated on the time. “She thinks that by coming ahead, she’s going to encourage different folks to come back ahead additionally, though they don’t have to be named.”
Earlier this month, Rufo stated he believes the Fessenden School has not addressed reviews of sexual abuse on the college in a passable method.
“We’re on the lookout for some measure of justice by means of the civil course of which we’re pursuing by means of the federal courtroom,” Rufo stated. “We want to see some form of apology from the Fessenden college and assurance that this received’t occur in the longer term to different youngsters who go there.”