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Charges against former Holyoke Soldiers Home leaders dismissed

The virtual November 2020 arraignment of Bennett Walsh and Dr. David Clinton.
Paul Tuthill/WAMC
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The virtual November 2020 arraignment of Bennett Walsh and Dr. David Clinton.

Hampden Superior Court Judge Edward McDonough has dismissed the criminal charges against two former leaders of the Holyoke Soldiers Home over their handling of a COVID-19 outbreak that killed at least 76 veterans last year. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey brought the charges against former Superintendent Bennett Walsh and Dr. David Clinton, the home’s former medical director.

“The commonwealth was not able to prove that either of the defendants, Mr. Walsh and Dr. Clinton, were ‘caretakers,’” Michael Jennings, Walsh’s attorney, told WAMC Monday. “The statute requires the commonwealth prove that the defendant ‘caretaker of an elder.’ Caretaker, that term, is very precisely defined within the statute. And it was our agreement that Mr. Walsh did not meet that role in his role as superintendent.”

The AG’s office says it is disappointed in the ruling and is evaluating its legal options.

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