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Massachusetts Jury Awards $175,000 to Beaten Ex-Prisoner

On August 28, 2002, a Worcester (MA) Superior Court jury awarded $175,000 to a former Massachusetts state prisoner who sued the Department of Correction (DOC). The jury also found that the DOC negligently hired and supervised a guard with a known propensity for violence and denied Gendron medical treatment after the guard assaulted him.

On November 4, 1992, Albert Gendron was incarcerated at Concord State Prison for parole violation. Julio Semidei, a guard, allegedly challenged Gendron to a fight, ordered him from his cell, handcuffed him behind the back, struck him in the genitals, and rammed his head into a wall causing a two inch facial laceration over his right eye.

Gendron received seven sutures, then was thrown in the hole and transferred that day to Shirley State Prison where, according to Gendron's Worcester attorney, Timothy P. Wickstrom, he was denied medical treatment and forced to remove the sutures himself with a plastic fork. Gendron only received medical attention after the eye became visibly swollen from infection. Gendron suffers from migraine headaches, blurred vision, and permanent facial scarring.

According to a January 1993 finding by the DOC's Appointing Authority, Semidei used excessive force against Gendron and falsified a related incident report and disciplinary report. Semidei also had a history of spousal abuse when he was hired. The finding and a 10-day suspension were affirmed by the Civil Service Commission's Division of Administrative Law Appeals. Semidei died in 1997. In August 2001, Judge Francis R. Fecteau entered default judgment against Semidei's estate and awarded Gendron $75,000. See: Gendron v. Commonwealth of Mass. DOC., Worcester Superior Court Case No. 95-2297B.

Source: WorcesterTelegram & Gazette

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Related legal case

Gendron v. Commonwealth of Mass. DOC