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Fells Acres Sexual Abuse Trials: 1986-87

What Went On At Day Care?

The Fells Acres Day School was located in Malden, Massachusetts, a city just north of Boston. Violet Amirault had founded the day-care school in 1966; by 1984, her daughter Cheryl Amirault LeFave was teaching one class, while her son Gerald dd everything from maintenance repairs to cooking. When things were busy, he would also pitch in and help the staff with the children.

It was just such an occasion in April 1984, when a four-year-old, new to the school, wet himself during a nap. At a teacher's request, Gerald changed M.C. (as he would be known in the trial) into some dry clothes and put the wet things in a plastic bag that the child took home. As it happened, the boy's parents were in the midst of breaking up and he was exhibiting several behavioral problems at home. At this time, too, M.C.'s mother told him of the alleged sexual abuse of her brother when he was a child; and during that summer, the boy was discovered in sex play with a cousin. This prompted the mother to ask her now-adult brother to question the boy, who, told his uncle that Gerald had taken his pants down. Upon further questioning, his mother would later claim, the boy proceeded to describe how every day at Fells Acres Gerald had led him blindfolded into a "secret room" and there performed sex acts.

At that point, in September 1984, the mother called a hotline and accused Gerald of sexual abuse. The local police were informed and they arrested Gerald and closed the school. Soon numerous Fells Acres children were being interrogated by not only their parents but also by the police, social workers, therapists, and prosecutors. Child after child began to tell stories of fantastic goings on, not only involving sexual acts performed by or in the presence of all three members of the Amirault family, but also incidents involving robots, murdered and buried animals, drinking of their own urine, eating a frog. By 1985, the district attorney indicted the three Amiraults and charged them with sexual abuse of a total of 21 children. Gerald's offenses were regarded as especially horrific and so he was brought to trial first.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Fells Acres Sexual Abuse Trials: 1986-87 - What Went On At Day Care?, Gerald's Trial, Mother And Daughter On Trial