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Publisher Fights 24-Year Seal on Molestation Case

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CN) - The publisher of the Providence Journal claims the continuation of a seal on a 1992 child molestation case "constitutes an abridgment of the public's right of access to judicial proceedings and records."

In a lawsuit filed last week, LMG Rhode Island Holdings accuses the Rhode Island Superior Court of keeping the case under seal for no good reason. Providence County and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin are also named as defendants.

The case stems from allegations that a group home counselor, Tyrone Dale, sexually abused minor residents, the complaint states.

As a result of a plea bargain, Dale was charged with simple assault and received one year of probation, according to LMG's lawsuit.

The publisher claims Dale, who reportedly went on to become a coach at Juanita Sanchez School and the West End Recreation Center, was arrested again in June 2015 and charged with second-degree sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy, who was also a resident of another group home.

Three days after his arrest, Dale committed suicide and was therefore never prosecuted for the crime, according to the complaint.

LMG argues that Dale's death voids any "compelling interest that justifies the continued embargo of the 1992 criminal case record."

The Providence Journal, which has covered Dale's arrests and court proceedings since February 1993, asked Judge Alice Gibney to unseal the 1992 records to expose the process that resulted in Dale's please bargain, "which apparently did not prevent him from continuing to work with children," the 6-page lawsuit states.

Gibney requested that the newspaper file a formal legal motion for the request, according to the complaint.

LMG's Jan. 8 lawsuit does just that, seeking a declaration that the file be unsealed. The publisher is represented by Jeffrey Schreck in Providence.


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