Crime victims honored on anniversary of high school stabbing

Apr 12, 2019

More than fifty people stood outside the Dartmouth Senior Center on April 12 to watch Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III dedicate two memorial benches for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The benches are dedicated to the memories of all victims of crimes.

“My office stands with victims of crimes and I will do everything in my power to bring those who harm our elders and others to justice,” Quinn said in his dedication speech.

“We will also continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all victims of crimes and to work to prevent them from being victimized in the first place.”

The day marked the 26th anniversary of the Dartmouth High School stabbing death of 16-year-old freshman Jason Robinson.

On that dreary Monday in 1993, three teenagers — two of them also students at Dartmouth High School — walked in to Robinson’s social studies classroom armed with a billy club, a baseball bat, and a knife.

They were looking for a student who happened to be in the office at the time. When they couldn’t find him, they attacked Robinson instead. 

All three teens were arrested that same day. One received a one-year suspended sentence, the second served just over ten years in prison, and the last one — the boy who had actually stabbed Robinson to death — served 15 years of a life sentence before being paroled.

The tragedy stands as a somber reminder of the impact that one traumatic event can have on a community.

Quinn spoke about his memories of that day.

He also spoke for several minutes about supporting the victims of crimes, particularly the elderly, who can be vulnerable to physical, financial, and psychological abuse.

“Each day in Massachusetts there are 54 reports of suspected elder abuse,” the District Attorney noted, adding that a 2009 phone survey by the US Department of Justice found that 11 percent of older people reported experiencing at least one form of mistreatment.

The majority of cases — 56 percent of emotional abuse cases and 76 percent of physical abuse cases — is perpetrated by family members, Quinn stated.

The dedication of the benches comes just three days after a New Bedford man was caught for stealing purses from two elderly women in Dartmouth.

Dartmouth Police Chief Brian Levesque — who also attended the ceremony — commented: “I think it was just a matter of time, if we hadn’t got him the second time that he certainly would have come back for a third time.

“And we were just glad that we were able to stop this before anyone really got seriously injured.”

According to Chief Levesque, a local businessman who frequented the Dartmouth Street bank where the first robbery took place gave the victim $500 to help replace some of her stolen cash.

He cited the story as a heartwarming example of community support for crime victims.

“That was great,” he said. “So not only did we the police department go out and apprehend the criminal, but we had someone from the community, a businessman, step up and help assist the victim in a way we couldn’t.”

The Bristol County District Attorney’s office has received nearly $2,000 in federal funding to promote community awareness of crime victims’ rights and services this week.

The funding was used to purchase the two memorial benches, commemorative plaques and more than 1,000 bookmarks with resources for victims, which are being distributed to public libraries throughout Bristol County as part of a Community Awareness Project.

This article has been updated to clarify that the benches honor all crime victims, and to include more information about the Dartmouth High School stabbing.