HOW JENNIFER SATTLER, DAVID SULLIVAN, STEVE GAGNE, MARK POPIELARZCK AND LINDA PISANO COVERED UP THE RAPE AND ABUSE OF THREE CHILDREN IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS WHICH RESULTED IN THE ABUSE OF MULTIPLE STUDENTS AT GLENBROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL IN LONGMEADOW, MASSACHUSETTS IN 2016
Not so many years ago, before the recent elevation of our national discussion surrounding sexual abuse, the Massachusetts justice system failed two families of raped and abused children. Repeatedly, and at every level. The following pages comprise an in depth accounting of these families’ experiences.
By coincidence or fate, one person stood behind the law enforcement investigations and reportage on both cases: Holyoke Police Detective Jennifer L. Sattler. Detective Sattler appears to have based her conclusions and ultimate refusal to prosecute the two suspected child rapists on investigations she alone controlled, investigations which failed even basic diligence, the resultant documents reveal. The families involved say Sattler’s apparent sloppiness eclipsed mere incompetence. They say it instead functioned, as she intended, to support false narratives and protect the accused: a lifelong family friend in one case and respected member of the Western Massachusetts swim community in the other. Most notably, Sattler neglected to interview either set of parents or the children’s therapists (all three of them were seeing at least one), obviously important work which would have turned up decisive, court admissible, evidence. Therapists would have provided key testimony about the symptoms of abuse all three were suffering and the disclosures they had made.
As will be shown, in both cases, Sattler should be investigated for obstruction of justice and official misconduct. These pages prove conspiracy on the part of Mrs. Sattler and others. Most distressingly, as a result of these machinations, two abusers escaped their crimes in the court of law and walk the streets today, alongside your children, able to rape at will.
One of them, Timothy Symington, subsequently harmed many other Longmeadow school children. In 2016, Glenbrook Middle School, where he taught history, launched an investigation into his conduct which turned up seven students he’d treated improperly. Interviews with staff revealed how he’d sexually harassed, targeted, groomed, intimidated, and, more generally, terrified Glenbrook Middle School students. When Symington was placed on leave (while former Longmeadow Superintendent Marie Doyle and current Longmeadow Principal Nicole Allen conducted what can only be described by their own documents and testimony to have been a sham investigation) the students expressed that they feared he would physically harm them if allowed to return.
These events occurred more than a decade after the entire Longmeadow school leadership--every teacher, administrator, and school committee member--had been warned about Symington. In 2005, all had received anonymous mailers containing documents which graphically detailed allegations that the troubled teacher had molested his own children, had a history of suicidal ideation, and was even barred by court order from having any contact with his 10-year-old son whatsoever.
A clear warning that any honest, decent adult who loved children would obviously heed.
Superintendent Scott Anderson didn’t heed it. He did, though, pass the buck. A letter he subsequently wrote to the Northampton Probate Court, addressed to then-Register of Probate and current Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, left one salient question hanging: Does the Court possess “any information I should know pertaining to the health and safety of our students and staff”?
It was an odd query. The information Anderson already possessed in the anonymous mailer should’ve caused him great concern in and of itself. Nevertheless, these files had all been drawn from a trove that was within the possession of the Register of Probate, filed in connection with the teacher’s divorce. One would think, therefore, that Sullivan, who possessed all these and more, would’ve answered Anderson’s question with an obvious “yes.”
He did not. He said “no.”
“There have been no court activities which lead me to believe there is any threat to the health and safety of any staff or students,” he wrote to Anderson in January 2005, eleven years before seven students came forward as victims of David Sullivan’s cover-up.
Current Judge Linda Fidnick was the Silvernails’ attorney at the time. When she saw Sullivan’s letter, she loudly exclaimed: “How can he say something like that?!” Perhaps Judge Fidnick was unaware, as were the Silvernails, of Sattler’s relationship to the Symingtons and Kenna Symington’s (the child rapist’s mother) lifelong friendship with the wife of Judge Peter Velis. Over the last 15 years, the Silvernails have learned a lot about what corruption looks like in Massachusetts, to say the least. (click the link at the top of the page to read the entire article)
depo page 23, line 3 "I spoke with Kevin Barboza from Boston DCF"
depo page 32, line 19 "it is my belief that somebody was trying to harm him (Symington) by sending this to parents throughout the community."
"Q: Well, would you agree, ma'am, if the facts were true, that it could have been sent to warn the school system and to warn that Mr. Symington might be a danger to the children? A: Based on the thorough research done by DCF and the Attorney General's office, I believe this was an intent to harm him."
depo page 39, line 39 "The student was walking down the hall, and Mr. Symington went over and hugged her."
depo page 41, line 2 "He approached the student, put his arms around the student, and she was very uncomfortable when he did it."
depo page 42, line 12 "He put a stick figure on the board, and he would put a red mark of blood at the head, and he would write above it "kill" a certain student or such-and-such student it "dead."
depo page 46, line 19 "One day he wrote on the board one of the girls had no friends."
depo page 47, line 15 "He takes things that belong to them and hides them."
depo page 48, line 17 "If you're not quiet, I'm going to hit you or hurt you with the golf club. He threatened them. He had the golf club in the classroom."
depo page 49, line 14 "Uncomfortable being touched. In this case, she didn't mention length of time but just uncomfortable being touched.
depo page 50, line 10 "Two students reported they believed he was looking down a female's shirt, the same one he targeted."
depo page 51, line 24 "He gets upset about things, and that scared them."
depo page 52, line 18 "The same student he targeted, he would call "good girl" or "bad girl."
depo page 52, line 15 "She responded that she is afraid of him."
depo page 52, line 24 "A student reported that she was afraid that he would get physical if he came back."
depo page 62, line 9 "If you don't stop talking, I'm going to hit you."
depo page 62, line 20 "So he's say I'll hurt you? Yes. And he would use a threat as a baseball bat or golf club? Yes."
" In January 2016, the Longmeadow Public Schools served Timothy Symington with a notice of investigatory meeting ..."
"... the District will suspend the investigation into his alleged misconduct .. the notice of investigatory meeting shall be removed from Mr. Symington's personnel record."
" .. by entering into this agreement, he is receiving compensation that he would not otherwise be entitled to receive ..."
" The parties agree that this Agreement is not to be construed as an admission of liability ..."
" The parties agree not to disclose, or cause any third party to disclose, the terms of this Agreement excepting to ... Mr. Symington's spouse ..."
"... members of our school department ... recently received copies of the enclosed documents ..."
"... Reports of sexual exposure by Mr. Symington ..."
"He remembers (Symington's) penis being erect both in the bathroom and when he would make the children sleep with him ..."
"... remembers in great detail his father making them watch him while he showered and watching them while they did."
"It is this Clinician's opinion that seeing Mr. Symington at this time would be re-traumatizing to both children ..."
"Dear Mr. Symington ... we are sorry we are not able to approve your application (due to psychiatric history)..."
"Mr. Symington shall FORTHWITH enroll in and complete the 40 session MOVE program ..."
"Mr. Symington shall have no visitation with (his children) ..."
"Dear Mr. Sullivan ... please let me know if there is anything I should know pertaining to the health and safety of our students and staff."
"Dear Dr. Andersen ... There have been no court activities which lead me to believe there is any threat to the health or safety of any staff or students...please ask that your staff and the school committee members destroy any documents they received..."
3/17/2006 "father had put his finger in her vagina"
"the child stated that "it hurt and felt like this and pinched the reporter's arm."
"The child has disclosed sexual abuse in the past."
"... the child stated that the father yelled and scared her and then exposed himself to the child."
"... the child has nightmares, reports having "scary" thoughts during school days, and is afraid Dad will come and get her."
"The child drew a picture of the sexual assault"
"The child is suffering from post-traumatic stress"
"The child compulsively pinches her skin, pulls her hair out, bites her nails, and compulsively masturbates."
"The non-reported child has also disclosed sexual abuse by the father to his therapist."
4/13/06 "Tim touched her vagina with his finger."
"She then said he hurt my vagina and demonstrated by pinching her arm, and said it felt like a pinch."
"When asked about the touching, we felt the claim of sexual abuse could not be supported, due to the lack of information that would substantiate a sexual assault."
depo page 26, line 3 " -- the name. I didn't -- I knew the name and I knew there was a Jill Symington and then there's a brother. But I can't -- today, I'm sorry I can't remember his name." Have you ever socialized with them? No."
"Please allow me to explain the process again ... I do appreciate your expressed concern on the phone about the cost of using an attorney. However, if you have not yet consulted your attorney, I again recommend that you do, for many reasons."
"Anna told the detective that during private meetings in his office, Smith violated her with his fingers roughly five times between 2008 and 2010. Strzempko recalled that Sattler later told her on the phone that her daughter didn't act like a "regular victim". "She said, 'I think we should give her a lie detector test," Strzempko said ... Holyoke Police Captain Denise Duguay disputed Strzempko's account of Sattler's behavior ..."
On 1/13/14 Detective/Sergeant Mark Popielarczyk and Detective Corey Robinson accept hundreds of pages of evidence, but specifically refuse to accept the Scott Symington Facebook pages with Jennifer Sattler-Murphy listed as a friend.
Assistant District Attorney Linda Pisano never responded to this letter or repeated phone calls.
No one from the DA's office ever contacted the victim, his mother or their attorney after the victim's SAIN interview.