For Immediate Release - October 01, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley Obtains Final Consent Judgment Against Holyoke Brothers for Harassment and Intimidation of Neighbors

HOLYOKE - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office obtained a Final Consent Judgment yesterday against two Holyoke brothers, Jesse and Roman Jedrzejczyk, who are accused of harassing, threatening and intimidating their neighbors, a single mother and her two six year-old daughters. The adult victim is a political asylee to the United States who, in 2001, fled political persecution in Haiti out of fear for her life. The judgment, granted by Hampden Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney, includes a civil rights injunction prohibiting the Jedrzejczyks from threatening, intimidating or coercing the victims, or anyone else in the Commonwealth, because of their actual or perceived race or ethnicity. The order also prohibits the Jedrzejczyks from knowingly coming within 10 feet of the victims. A violation of the order is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and two and a half years in a House of Correction, or if bodily injury results from such a violation, a $10,000 fine and up to ten years in State Prison.

"Bias and hate-motivated conduct is not tolerated in Massachusetts. Beyond their devastating effects on individual victims, hate crimes are detrimental to the safety of our communities at large," said Attorney General Coakley. "We are pleased that the court has granted this judgment to hold these men accountable for their actions and to ensure the safety not only of the victims of this alleged conduct, but also the residents of the Commonwealth, and its visitors."

According to the complaint, filed July 8, 2009, the Jedrzejczyks repeatedly and regularly harassed the victims using racial slurs and threats over the course of the past three years. The defendants' actions caused the victim to become concerned for her personal safety after threats were made to break her windshield. In addition, a "For Sale" sign was placed in front of her house. The intimidation culminated last spring when the victim responded to racial slurs being directed at her by imploring Jesse Jedrzejczyk to leave her alone. In response, Jedrzecjcyk threatened, "I will never leave you alone until you move. If you don't move, I'll move you!" The Commonwealth's lawsuit alleged the Jedrzejczyks' bias-motivated harassment has seriously interfered with the victims' ability to live and feel safe at home.

The Attorney General's Office obtained relief under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (MCRA), which is commonly referred to as the hate crimes statute. Under the MCRA, the Attorney General's Office has the power to obtain an injunction in cases where a victim has faced threats, intimidation, or coercion because of his or her membership in a protected category, for example, race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, or because he or she is engaged in a protected activity, such as the right to use public ways or places, the right to vote, or the right to associate.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Laurie A. Frankl of Attorney General Coakley's Civil Rights and Western Massachusetts Divisions with the assistance of Susan DeVine of the Investigations Division.