BEVERLY – The lawyer for a man with developmental disorder who spent more than a year and a half in Middleton Prison for sexually assaulting children told a judge on Monday that there may be room for him in a group home soon.
Jonathan Jutras, 20, was charged with indecent assault and child assault last year after three boys were involved in a playground in Beverly.
Jutras has autism, bipolar disorder, learning disabilities, and other conditions. Two doctors have determined that he is unable to stand on trial and left his case in limbo. Given the nature of the charges, as well as Jutras’ records of violent outbreaks against family members, prosecutors, police and judges believe that he is a potential danger if released from custody.
The Salem News reported on Jutras ‘case last month, which included a dispute between Jutras’ mother, who was also his guardian at the time, and his court-appointed attorney, which hampered efforts to move him to a supervised group home. The case has also highlighted the scarcity of group homes or other options for people with developmental disabilities involved in the criminal justice system.
Both his mother Jessica Parisella and his attorney Grace Edwards agreed that Middleton Prison was not a suitable place for him. Since he was incarcerated, Jutras has signed COVID-19 and has been exploited and harassed due to his physical and emotional limitations.
But Parisella vehemently opposed a proposal to bring Jutras home to a forensic group, citing concerns that he would be with older men charged with serious crimes and that he would not get the services he needed .
In an interview, Edwards admitted that the program wasn’t everything the family wanted, but argued that it was the best option available – an option that disappeared when the spot was given to someone else. Edwards argued that jutras are also being placed in jail with older men charged with more serious crimes.
Edwards then sought the appointment of a new guardian for jutras.
During Monday’s hearing, Edwards Judge Carol-Ann Fraser announced that a new guardian has been appointed and is working with the Development Services Department and that a potential jutras position could be available within two to three weeks.
She requested a hearing on December 11th to bring the proposed placement to court.
Edwards would have to convince a judge and the district attorney that the program is safe and that there is no risk to public safety before jutras can be relocated. Prosecutors said they needed an assurance that the Jutras program would provide adequate security and oversight before consenting to a transfer.
Court reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, email at [email protected], or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.