Holyoke’s 1920 Scandal, Part II

by Laurel | April 11th, 2013

16 April 1920

King is Arraigned Under Six Counts
Boys’ Club Superintendent and Probation Officer Alleged to Have Improperly Treated Girls

George W. King, superintendent of the Holyoke Boys’ Club and juvenile probation officer was arraigned in chambers at the police court session this morning, charged on six counts with assault on female children. The complaints were sworn out by a police official. The accused pleaded not guilty and a hearing was scheduled for the 20th.

King, who was summoned into court last night, waived the reading of the complaint and entered a plea of not guilty through his counsel, Russell L. Davenport. Judge John Hildreth gave notice that Associate Jude Robert C. Parker of Westfield will sit on the case, when it came to trial. Attorney T. D. O’Brien will conduct the case for the prosecution. Judge Hildreth said today that, inasmuch as he and the clerk of courts, Thomas J. Tierney, who ordinarily acts as public prosecutor, had heard both side of the case before trial, considered themselves disqualified to act. Mr. King will continue as probation officer until the disposal of the case, as his suspension, it is considered, might occasion prejudice in the public mind.

The alleged assaults were upon girls between 10 and 13 years old and occurred on the following dates: February 4, October 4, February 14, December 6, November 22, and November 15, it is claimed. The technical charge reads in language that — “did with force and arms in and upon the body of one make an assault and did then and there beat, bruise, wound and ill-treat, and do other wrongs, etc.” but the charges are based upon the allegations made by the girls cited in the complaints that he rubbed them down with towels while in a nude state after baths at the boys club. King was released upon his own recognizance, for appearance on the 29th.

Results of Lengthy Inquiry

The summons into court brings to a head a matter that has been under investigation several weeks by the police department.   The original complaint was investigated by Policewoman Mary McMahon at the direction of her superiors. As a result a warrant was asked, which was at the time denied. City Marshall William D. Nolen then had the girls come to his office to give their testimony, and later their testimony was brought to the attention of officials of the Boys’ Club. Finally by agreement, the matter was left with the court, and so far as publicity was concerned, was believed to be a closed incident.An informational meeting of the Boys’ Club members and officials was held with the resut that a statement was issued in which the declared their faith in King was unshaken, and promised him support and this at once “spilled the beans,” as the court promptly turned back the matter to the attention of the police department. Some delay ensured, it is understood, it not being quite certain in what measure and to what extend King was legally liable to court action. After opinions on the matter had been secured from attorneys and the evidence gone over carefully it was decides that a case of assault was tenable in each of the cases of the girls and complaints were issued accordingly.

Case Somewhat Peculiar

The case seems to be peculiar in that so far as the evidence made public goes, there was no criminal assault made or suggested on the part of King,  His friends assert that he in no way and at no time had any impure thought or motive in connection with the alleged assisting of the baths of the young girls, even when they admit of the indiscretion. In fact there has been about as much fault found by the public with the directors for not knowing or if knowing not forbidding that which is alleged to have happened as with King himself.

King is serving his 13th year as superintendent of the Boys’ Club coming to Holyoke from Rhode Island, before which he had been an office of the Rhode Island Reform School. He has also been superintendent and principal of schools at Shoshone, Nevada, and has seen service at Fort Lapway, Idaho, where he was stationed as a teacher in the field at Chief Joseph’s Reservation and at Fort Klamath, Oregon, on Captain Jack’s Reservation. He was appointed juvenile Probation for the Holyoke Police Court February 17, 1916. He has also been associated with the case committee of the associated charities and has been superintendent in the Second Baptist Church.

To Be Continued …

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

List of Articles on the “Holyoke’s 1920 Scandal” Series:

Holyoke’s 1920 Scandal, Part I — King’s Conduct is Basis of Inquiry
Holyoke’s 1920 Scandal, Part II — King is Arraigned Under Six Counts
Holyoke’s 1920 Scandal, Part III — Girls Testify Against King
Holyoke’s 1920 Scandal, Part IV — George W. King is Acquitted
George W. King Discharged on All Complaints
George W. King, Head of Holyoke Boys’ Club, Dead

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