For Immediate Release

Reconsideration hearing today for divorced father serving 6-month sentence for 209A restraining order 'paper' crime

Harry Stewart imprisoned for refusal to sign false confession

Fatherhood Coalition to hold courthouse rally in support

QUINCY, September 2, 1999—Harry Stewart's plea for reconsideration and suspension of his sentence pending appeal will be heard this morning in Quincy District Court. Stewart began serving a six-month sentence at the Dedham House of Correction on August 18 after he failed to complete the terms of his probation: entering and completing a batterer's intervention program.

Stewart was tried and convicted on June 21 of violating a 209A abuse protection (restraining order) in 1997 when he left his car to assist his 5-year-old son return to his mother's home. The conditions of the 209A order required him to remain in his car at visitation pickup/drop-offs. Stewart's son was unable to open the apartment complex outside door, and after futile attempts to get his ex-wife's attention by honking his car horn, Stewart got out of his car to help his son get in the home.

Stewart was sentenced to two-year's probation and a suspended six-month sentence pending completion of a batterer's program. He was later denied entry into the Common Purpose batterer's program because he refused to sign an admission document that required him to admit to acts of violence. Stewart has never been violent, and his several counts of restraining order violations are all of the no-contact provision, such as exiting his car.

Fatherhood Coalition to Rally

As they have for all of Stewart's court dates in the past, members and supporters of the statewide organization CPF-Fatherhood Coalition will rally outside the Quincy courthouse. On August 22, over 50 supporters were present at a candlelight vigil held outside the Dedham jail. The event was covered by New England Cable News and WBZ Channel 4 News.

Supporters will be unveiling a giant 8' x 16' "FREE HARRY" banner that will be held over local highways entering Quincy.

Future plans in the FREE HARRY campaign include a petition to the Supreme Judicial Court to immediately suspend ch.209A and free Stewart, and a multi-plaintiff federal lawsuit against all of the justices of the Trial Courts in Massachusetts.


For further information, contact:

Mark Charalambous
CPF Spokesman

Phyllis Field, Esq.
(Stewart's attorney)

John Flaherty
CPF Co-Chairman




CPF - The Fatherhood Coalition

A non-profit, all volunteer organization of men and women advocating for fatherhood since 1994

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