For Immediate Release - March 23, 2010

Parole Board Denies Mall Rapist's Bid For Freedom

The Massachusetts State Parole Board has denied parole for Phillip Pizzo, the so-called mall rapist who terrorized the region in the early to mid-1980s. During the January 5, 2010, parole hearing, Essex Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Bresler told the Board, "Phillip Pizzo may be the worst rapist in the history of Massachusetts."

Pizzo, 60, formerly of Westford, pleaded guilty in 1984 to 13 counts of aggravated rape, four counts of armed robbery while masked, and two counts of armed robbery, for which he was sentenced to concurrent life terms in state prison.

He was also convicted of seven counts of kidnapping and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and was sentenced to 9-10 years in state prison on each count, to run concurrent with the life sentences.

In addition, the Court declared Pizzo to be a "Sexually Dangerous Person" in 1985, and as a result he was sentenced to one day to life at the Massachusetts Treatment Center. In 2009, the Court determined that he was no longer a "Sexually Dangerous Person." But prosecutors disagree.

"This is a violent predator who should never see the light of day, and the public can be assured that five years from now, when he is again parole-eligible, we will be present to vigorously oppose his release under any circumstances," said Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

"Phillip Pizzo pled guilty to 11 counts of aggravated rape and 5 counts of kidnapping at the time of his conviction in Middlesex County," said Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone. "Phillip Pizzo's crimes were both far reaching and extremely disturbing, and his series of rapes and kidnappings committed against young women terrorized residents across Eastern Massachusetts. We are pleased with the Parole Board's decision to deny this inmate parole."

At shopping malls in Essex and Middlesex Counties, Pizzo accosted women at knifepoint while masked, forced them into their cars, and placed a mask over their faces to prevent them from seeing. He would then take them to his home and rape them.

The Parole Board noted in its February 11, 2010 decision, "In view of Mr. Pizzo's violent and sexually deviant behavior, the Board does not believe that he is ready for community supervision. To release him at this time would be an injustice to Mr. Pizzo and the community. In this case, public safety requires further incarceration."

-30-