Justice for Phil Williams Jr.

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Offline Liberty4all

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Justice for Phil Williams Jr.
« on: March 29, 2017, 01:39:04 AM »
LEWISTON, Maine (AP) Maine state police are looking into a claim that a boxing match used as punishment at a now-closed school for troubled teens preceded a student's death from a brain injury three decades ago.

Authorities told Pam Newell in 1982 her brother, Phil Williams Jr., died from a brain aneurysm. She said she only learned two weeks ago that he had been forced into the infamous boxing ring at the Elan School the day before he died, the Sun Journal (http://bit.ly/1plHWB7 ) reported.

"There's a lot of information that needs to be gathered," Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland said Tuesday. "A great deal of time has elapsed since the teenager's death."

Forced fighting was among several controversial therapies employed by the school, which closed in 2011. The practice emerged during Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's 2002 murder trial in Connecticut.

Former student Ann Bowen told the newspaper Newell's brother was pummeled by teenagers wearing boxing gloves as punishment because staff members thought he was faking a headache. Another former student, Laura Allemang, said she remembers Williams going into convulsions.
The school in Poland, Maine, was founded by the late Joe Ricci, a former heroin addict, and the late Gerald Davidson, a psychiatrist.

Several former school officials said they'd never heard of the allegations.

The death certificate for Williams cites a probable brain aneurysm as the source of "brain stem compression" and "massive cerebral hemorrhage." An aneurysm is a weakening of the wall of an artery or vein wall that can cause death in the event of a rupture.

McCausland said another former student from Chicago came to him with the same allegation that a boxing match preceded the teen's death. He said they were forwarded to the major crimes unit, which is looking into the death.
Williams ended up at Elan after he and his sister, both from Auburn, became wards of the state and were sent to a foster home in Rockland after their father was imprisoned. Williams was sent to the Maine Youth Center, then to the Elan School, after getting into trouble.
Newell said she and her father, now 74, want answers.
"I want to know," she said. "If he was murdered, my brother deserved justice."
This story has been corrected to show the victim was 15, not 12, when he died

Offline Liberty4all

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Re: Justice for Phil Williams Jr.
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 01:52:54 PM »
No charges in 1982 death of Elan student
Lindsay Tice and Kathryn Skelton, Staff Writers 
Lewiston-Auburn | Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 8:07 pm
LEWISTON After a nearly yearlong investigation by state police, the Maine Attorney General's Office has announced no one will be charged in the 1982 death of a local teenager while he was a student at the Elan School in Poland.


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Pam Williams holds a photo of her teenage brother, Phil Williams Jr., last March. Phil died in 1982 while he was a student at the Elan School in Poland. After investigating for nearly a year, state police told the Williams family last week that there is not enough evidence to charge anyone in Phil's death.

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AG spokesman Tim Feeley said Tuesday that there was "insufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution."

He said an assistant attorney general, victim advocate and state police detective met last week with Phil Williams Jr.'s family to explain the investigation and the decision. Feeley declined to comment further.

Pam Williams, Phil's sister, said the family wasn't yet ready to talk about the state's decision.

Phil was 15 when, witnesses say, he was beaten by other students in the Poland school's infamous boxing ring because he'd complained of a headache. Phil later collapsed, turned blue and was taken away by staff. He died a day later.

His sister was 12 and in foster care at the time. She was told her brother died of a freak brain aneurysm. That's what the family had believed until last spring, when a stranger from Chicago showed up with Phil's curious, partially incomplete death certificate and the names of witnesses to his fight.

She told her story to the Sun Journal in March.

Within weeks, Maine State Police launched an investigation into Phil's death. Lt. Brian McDonough, head of the Southern Maine Major Crimes Unit, called it a "priority."

Founded by psychiatrist Gerald Davidson and businessman Joe Ricci, Elan operated from 1970 to 2011 as a private boarding school that catered mostly to troubled teenagers. Some of Elan's controversial tactics included ordering students to fight in a "ring" made up of other kids. It's one of the tactics to be featured in a New York filmmaker's upcoming documentary set to premiere in Maine in late April.

Davidson died in 1991 and Ricci died in 2001. After Ricci's death, the school was run by Ricci's wife, Sharon Terry, until it closed its doors in 2011.

Terry's attorney, Portland lawyer Ed MacColl, said Tuesday that Terry "was pleased to cooperate with the investigation" but he couldn't comment further.

Mark Babitz, the Chicago stranger who brought Phil's death certificate and witness statements to the family, said he was angry that no one would be charged in Phil's death but not surprised.

"I've got four witnesses that said it happened; what, are they lying? Why would they all lie?" he said Tuesday.

Babitz, a former Elan student who co-founded Elan Survivors Inc., is trying to organize a $50 million civil suit against the state of Maine on behalf of former students and residents.

"Elan Survivors Inc. is by far not done with Phil Williams," Babitz said. "He is our new poster child now for neglect in the state of Maine."