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Defendant seeks rehabilitation program amid charges involving boy

A longtime Connecticut Republican Party official has resigned amid felony charges over his alleged conduct involving a 5-year-old relative. The boy's parents went to authorities after the man allegedly made comments about his activities with the boy at a family New Year's Eve gathering.

During his April 4 arraignment, the 52-year-old man, who also chairs the Bristol Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners, filed an application for a first-time offender program called Accelerated Rehabilitation. He is currently free on $25,000 bond. In the meantime, a protective order prevents him from contacting the boy or going to his home.

The man allegedly made comments to family members about "bath time" with the little boy during an upcoming sleepover at his apartment. Reportedly, the boy had been spending the night with the man about once every other month since he was 2 years old. The parents say that when they asked their son about the man's comments, he said that the man bathed naked with him, with the boy sitting on his lap.

According to the arrest warrant, when he told family members about "bath time," the defendant looked at his own father, who was convicted of risk to injury of a minor 13 years ago. The conviction followed a molestation complaint.

If the defendant is accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitation program and successfully completes it, the charge against him would be dropped. He would have to abide by conditions ordered by court and avoid further arrests. However, the prosecutor in the case said that he is likely to object to allowing the defendant to enter that program. His next hearing is early in May.

Even an accusation of a sex crime, particularly involving a child, can ruin a person's future. In some cases, as with people arrested for crimes involving substance abuse, more good can be done for the community and for defendants if they are able to get the help they need rather than serve a prison term. Connecticut criminal defense attorneys can work towards getting clients who qualify into rehabilitation programs that can keep them out of prison and help them get their life back on track.

Source: The Bristol Press, "Gary Schaffrick applies for program, looks to avoid prosecution," Justin Muszynski, April 04, 2016

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