- Richard Straub: A Legacy Of Evil
When Scott Deojay was sentenced for the 2005 kidnapping and murder of jogger Judith Nilan, whose body was found on property owned by the actor who played Sesame Street's Big Bird, he didn't apologize or show emotion. Instead, his lawyer offered what the state called an "abuse excuse" - that Deojay had been repeatedly raped by Richard Straub for three years starting when he was 16.
- Mark Solak
- Abusive Behavior
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Misconduct
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Each started on a bumpy path toward adulthood, finding trouble in small doses through petty crimes.
Douglas Dougherty was 16 when he stole the purse of a woman who had just bought some lottery tickets in a shopping center in Putnam. The tickets were all losers.
Marc Page was 18 when he got caught stealing a couple gallons of gas from the pump at the Hebron Public Works Department garage.
Scott Evans was 15 when he was caught drinking in the Big Y parking lot in Danielson.
As first-time offenders, they got no jail time when they appeared before a judge in Superior Court in Danielson. Each got something that would turn out to be far worse -- a probation officer named Richard Straub.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Straub was chief of the probation department in Danielson, located in a small brick office building across the street from town hall.
But Straub's power far exceeded his title. He ran his office like a fiefdom, fueled by a close connection with prosecutors and judges. As a practical matter, Straub's near complete control of the probation system in eastern Connecticut is chilling for one main reason: He picked the boys who reported to him.
Boys such as Dougherty, Page and Evans.
While the three have never met, each tells a strikingly similar story about life on probation. Tales of locked doors in a windowless office, questions about whether they had ever dreamed of being with a man and, finally, molestation.
And always when Straub was done -- a warning.
"He said, 'What happens in my office stays in my office,' and if something were to leak out about what had happened he would make sure that I go to jail and do every single day of time that I owed,'' Dougherty said.
Dougherty, Page and Evans were three of 15 teenage boys that state police have verified were sexually molested by Straub when he was their probation officer from the mid-1980s through 1997.
Now, years after the teenagers were abused, they have something else in common: They have become abusers themselves. In fact, of the 15 boys known to have been abused by Straub, eight of them have since been convicted of sexually assaulting someone, in many cases children the same age as they were when they were first abused.
Another three have served time for assault. All but one have been to jail at least once, records show.
Just over one-quarter of Straub's 157 clients have since been convicted of sexual assault, although authorities say they are not sure exactly how many of them were abused by Straub.
Scott Deojay, convicted of the 2005 murder of a Thompson mother who was abducted while she was jogging, was among Straub's victims, his public defender told the judge at sentencing.