To be charged with rape at all is a devastating criminal charge. But things have gotten a lot worse for a Taunton High School teacher, for whom things have gone from bad to really, really bad.
Patrick Doyle, a 33 year-old teacher at Taunton High School, had already been charged a little over a week ago with statutory rape of a Taunton High School student. At his arraignment on that charge of statutory rape, Mr. Doyle was released on bail, which a judge set at $100,000.00. In my experience as a Norfolk County rape defense lawyer, that’s a high bail for a defendant facing this charge, with no prior offenses. But, at least he was released on bail, and, according to news sources, Mr. Doyle had not yet been fired. After his first arraignment, he was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the trial.
Recently, things have gotten a lot worse for Mr. Doyle. Late last week, the Bristol County District Attorney’s office brought a second rape charge against the Taunton High School teacher, this time for Aggravated Rape and Distributing Obscene Materials to a Minor. It is alleged with this second offense that the rape took place inside Taunton High School, and due to the allegations, this second offense was filed as Aggravated Rape, Because of this, the court revoked Mr. Doyle’s bail and he was placed behind bars. Worse, a conviction on a charge of Aggravated Rape carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of ten years. A “mandatory minimum” sentence means that if a jury finds the defendant guilty of the charge, the judge has NO CHOICE but to sentence the defendant to a minimum ten years in state prison. As you can see, the penalties for some Massachusetts sex offenses are extremely severe.
I should emphasize here that no matter what the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office says, Mr. Doyle, like all criminal defendants, is legally considered innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I’ve defended many cases of rape and sexual assault, and I can assure you that these cases are often glaring examples of the old saw, “Things are not always as they seem.” Teenagers can often make accusations of sexual assault to gain attention, or due to pathologies within their families of origin. In this case and in all cases of sexual assault and other crimes, people should keep an open mind and not rush to judgment.