Despite history, suspect deemed not dangerous

By John R. Ellement
Globe Staff / October 24, 2009

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The Level 3 sex offender now charged with assaulting a woman inside Massachusetts General Hospital was first charged with a sex-related crime in 1996 when he was accused of lewdness in Salem, N.H., court records show.

In two decisions in which it was concluded that David Flavell was not sexually dangerous, two Superior Court judges provided detailed accounts of his criminal history.

“Since 1996, Flavell has not engaged in any conduct which was physically intrusive, much less violent,’’ Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders wrote last month. “Flavell’s involvement with the criminal justice system did not begin until he was 26 years old. It consists exclusively of sexual offenses.’’

Flavell’s history includes his March 4, 1996, arrest in Salem, N.H., where he was “observed by a Kmart security officer urinating in a mop bucket and then walking over to another location in the store and masturbating on children’s clothing.’’

That same year, he was charged with indecent exposure and lewdness when he was observed on a security camera in a New Hampshire store masturbating into a shirt. He was given a 12-month suspended sentence, according to a 2006 ruling by Judge Robert T. Moses.

Three more times in 1996, Flavell was arrested for public masturbation, leading to a three-month sentence at New Hampshire state prison. He was sent back to prison in December of that year when he was charged in Methuen with open and gross lewdness, the judge wrote.

In the Methuen case, Flavell attacked a woman, forced her to take off her clothes, then suddenly changed his mind and tried to help her get to a hospital the judge said. He was convicted in Essex County of assault with intent to rape, the same charge filed against him yesterday.

Once released from the Essex County House of Correction in 2000, he moved to East Bridgewater to live with his mother, the judge said. Flavell allegedly resumed exposing himself and was arrested in Taunton, Fairhaven, and Canton, drawing a nine-month sentence in 2001. He started making annoying calls to missing children’s organizations and was sentenced to two years in Bristol County House of Correction in 2003.

In 2007 and 2008, he was charged in Boston Municipal Court with making annoying phone calls. In March 2008, he was charged with accosting a woman in the bathroom at the Borders bookstore in Braintree, leading to Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating’s unsuccessful effort to have him declared a sexually dangerous person.