March 23, 2006

Jailed pedophile, prince draw media attention to Island

The Martha's Vineyard Time

Posted March 23, 2006
By Ezra Blair

Normally, Martha's Vineyard's natural beauty and renowned seasonal visitors generate publicity for the Island. But two high-profile inmates, including a member of Saudi Arabia's extended royal family and an off-Island priest convicted of child pornography, have put the Dukes County Jail and House of Correction in the media spotlight in the past few months.

Recent press reports and even some public officials have described the Dukes County Jail and House of Correction as a country club, an assessment that Dukes County Sheriff Michael McCormack strongly disputes. A special report on Fox News 25 on Monday was promoted for days by an invitation to "go inside the local jail that is being called a country club for convicts."

The attention began in November, when Bader al-Saud, a member of Saudi Arabia's extended royal family, pled guilty to motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol and driving without a license in connection with a fatal accident in Boston in 2002 and was sentenced to jail. Mr. al-Saud, 23, asked to serve his one-year sentence on Martha's Vineyard.

Two weeks later, Stephen Fernandes, a Catholic priest from New Bedford who pled guilty to charges of possession and distribution of child pornography and posing a child in a state of nudity, was allowed to serve his eight-month sentence on the Vineyard.

Posted by kshaw at March 23, 2006 03:23 AM