Jury trial found Athol man a sexually dangerous person

Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A man from Athol will remain committed to a treatment center until deemed no longer a danger to society.

According to a news release from Northwestern District Attorney’s Office Spokesperson Laurie Loisel, the jury trial deliberated for two hours held Thursday in Franklin Superior Court, found 47-year-old William Hoyt a sexually dangerous person. Hoyt will remain committed to the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater until deemed no longer a danger to society.

The four day trial included testimony from four witnesses, an Athol detective who investigated the 2010 case, and three expert psychologists. Hoyt had been convicted of multiple sexual offenses, including indecent assault and battery on a child in 1994, indecent assault and battery upon an adult in 2005, and rape of a child in 2010.

“Our office pursues these petitions in only the most egregious cases,” said Northwestern First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne. “We use the sexually dangerous person statute to protect the community from inmates who are likely to sexually reoffend if released.” The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office files about one or two sexually dangerous person petitions each year.

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office filed a petition to commit Hoyt as a sexually dangerous person near the end of serving his sentence in mid-2020. Hoyt has been in prison serving a 10-12 years sentence related to his 2010 conviction on multiple counts of rape of a child.

“We thank the jury for serving on this very difficult case, and for reaching what we believe was the right verdict,” said Gagne, who prosecuted the case together with Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Lori Oderna.

The jury trial was the first one held in the Franklin Superior Court since February of 2020 after courts were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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