Coakley and the Curling-Iron Rapist, Part II: Why Did it Take So Long to Press Charges?

Yesterday, I reported on the horrific rape of a two-year old by Keith Winfield in 2005 in Massachusetts. Then-Middlesex County DA Martha Coakley failed to take action to bring charges against Mr. Winfield. Today, the story takes another turn. In part II of the Curling-Iron Rapist Case, let’s look at two of the key players in the case: The lawyer for the family of the raped toddler, Larry Frisoli, and his brother and legal partner, Frank Frisoli.

Larry Frisoli was a highly-respected and high profile lawyer who had handled the wrongful-death suit in the famous and horrifying Jeffrey Curley case, where an 8-year Jeffrey was savagely kidnapped off the street and brutally raped and murdered. Larry represented Jeffrey’s family, and won a symbolic $328 million wrongful death suite against the perpetrators in 2000. The perpetrators went to prison for life and were broke. That same year, Larry Frisoli was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

539wAttorney Larry Frisoli

Fast forward to 2005, when Larry Frisoli was called by the family of the raped toddler to represent them. After the mother of the raped toddler took the child to the hospital, the hospital notified DSS that the child had been molested and or abused. The DSS came to the parent’s home, and tried to take the child away; thinking the parents had perpetrated the crime. The parents called family friend and attorney Larry Frisoli to sort out the madness.

As we now know, and what seemed clear to Larry and his clients very early in the case, was that the child had been left in the care of Policeman Keith Winfield, the uncle of the child, the prior day. Officer Winfield, during his hour alone with his 23-month old niece, raped her with a hot curling iron.

Larry took the case and immediately took action to get Keith Winfield put away for his crimes. What he didn’t realize was that he was about to go against then Middlesex DA Martha Coakley, who for reasons I will allow readers to conclude from Frank Frisoli’s recounting of the facts and allegations in an email he provided to us today, would not bring charges against the Toddler Rapist and dragged the process out so long that her successor had to put Winfield away. Coakley allowed this toddler rapist to stay on the streets for over 2 years and she let him out of custody on No BAIL.

Larry Frisoli very quickly sensed there was something afoul with Coakley’s handling of the case: Larry had what seemed like an open and shut case against a public menace and monster, but Coakley’s office was moving at a snail’s pace and refused to take action against the officer after calling a grand jury.

Coakley’s handling of the incident was so alarming to Larry Frisoli, that he decided to run against her in the Massachusetts’ Attorney General race; solely due to his perceived mishandling of the case by DA Coakley.

What happened next sent the Frisoli’s over the edge: Coakley’s campaign attacked Larry and said he was using the case to publicize his political ambitions and that Larry Frisoli had wanted to run all along. Larry went on to lose the race to Coakley and sadly passed away in 2008, but not before he put away Keith Winfield for life with the help of Coakleys’ successor: Gerry Leone.

And, so, in the words of the Larry’s brother, and the one person alive who has access to all of the files, facts, and timelines, I will let readers conclude what happened in this horrifying case. Why did it take so long for Coakley to take action? Why did Coakley push for no action by the grand jury? Why would she release a toddler rapist with no bail and let him walk the streets for 2 years? On no bail?

This email was recently sent out by Frank Frisoli to friends and colleagues in response to the January 6th Boston Globe article detailing the case and Coakley’s handling of it. The email is published here in its entirety with Frank’s permission:


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