Gag me with an order
Through one lurid allegation after the next, the limelight-loving Aretakis always seems to dupe the media into keeping his name in the headline news. He’s best known as the lawyer who single-handedly put the screws to Albany Diocese of the Catholic Church during the recent clergy sex abuse scandal. And he continued to twist them without mercy until a federal court judge censured him for filing a bogus racketeering claim that was considered “wholly deficient” in its merit.
“[T]he amended complaint...is littered with wholly irrelevant, inflammatory, and embarrassing facts concerning defendants and non-defendants alike that have no bearing on the actions brought,” U.S. District Court Judge Paul Crotty wrote in a November ruling, which levied a $24,000 fine against Aretakis.
With the church gravy train pulling out of the station, Aretakis sought out a new case with momentum that would again emblazon his name on front page. This time, the publicity manifested itself in the alleged sex abuse perpetrated by Douglas Conrad and roommate James Wiley. For some reason, these accused pedophiles have become the focus of the Capital Region’s media, even though they’re accused of crimes that are anything but sensational considering some of the reprehensible sex abuse cases that have sleazed down the pike in recent years.
But Conrad drove a Saratoga Springs school bus. And he was once accused of molesting children at a Mechanicville daycare six years ago, an alleged crime that went unprosecuted up until the Spa City charges were filed. Add to this the charges of endangerment against the mother of the molested 14- and 16-year-old boys, who willingly allowed her children to shack up with Conrad and Wiley, despite knowing of their nefarious predilections. Here’s where Aretakis gets involved.
First, Aretakis needs to prove Conrad the barbaric molester and solidify this idea in the public eye. Then, he’s free to pursue lawsuits against everyone under the sun. There’s the school district for hiring such a known cretin, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office for not prosecuting Conrad in 2002 and prosecuting the mother in 2008; there’s the Mechanicville Daycare and the landlord who rented to Conrad and Wiley; hell, there could even be room enough for the Mechanicville and Saratoga Springs police departments on the flurry of lawsuits that are likely to follow any conviction in the case.
Not to mention, Aretakis gets free press for his run for the 21st Congressional District. True, most candidates for political office wouldn’t want their name appearing anywhere near the term sex offender; just as Schenectady’s Ed Kosiur. But in Aretakis’ case, it’s free publicity that keeps rolling through the press and a basis for his congressional run.
“No one in Washington, D.C., is standing up for children,” Aretakis told a fleet of reporters gathered at his campaign announcement.
There is no question Aretakis is standing up with children. In fact, he stood on display in front of City Hall Wednesday with the alleged 14-year-old victim and a reporter in tow. But the notion that Aretakis is standing up for children is a tougher lump to swallow, given the media attention he’s quite deliberately attracted.
Were he a real attorney interested in justice, Aretakis would allow the legal system to take its course. Instead, his proselytizing to the media has turned the case into a sort of circus, which could in fact work in the favor of the accused abusers he’s so righteously trying to convict. Undoubtedly, he’s compromised the prosecution’s case by drawing so much publicity to it. District Attorney Jim Murphy is going to have a devil of a time drawing a jury, much less ensuring these men receive a fair and unbiased trial anywhere in the Capital Region.
But this isn’t a concern for Aretakis. Wiley and Conrad going free would offer an even more compelling case for the mother and her sons to file the aforementioned civil claims. Also, if this dynamic duo gets anything less than the gallows, Aretakis will be handed the campaign platform he craves for his congressional run; namely one that involves assuring the public of more stringent child abuse laws at the federal level. Work it, John. Work it real good.