Brazilian Illegal Immigrant Who Admitted Sexual Assaults As A Teen-Ager Can’t Withdraw Guilty Pleas To Try To Avoid Second Deportation, Massachusetts Court Rules

Printed from:

A Brazilian illegal immigrant convicted of sexually assaulting three high school freshmen at a soccer camp in 2013 can’t withdraw his original guilty pleas after they got him deported, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled.

Guilherme Pereira, now about 27, was 16 when he and two other boys entered the freshman cabin at a summer soccer camp and used a broomstick to assault three freshmen, according to the court decision issued Friday, May 24.

At least eight witnesses described the incident to police, who also recovered photographic evidence of the assaults. One of the victims sustained anal bleeding from the attack, according to court documents.

The criminal case was adjudicated in juvenile court. Pereira, in the words of the state’s Appeals Court, “pleaded to being adjudicated a youthful offender” for several crimes, including two counts of indecent assault and battery of a person 14 or older, three counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and two counts of assault with intend to rape a child.

Pereira got no jail time. Instead, he received a suspended prison sentence of three to four years and was committed to the state Department of Youth Services until turning age 21.

His lawyer at the time told him he should assume that the guilty pleas would get him deported. A social worker who interviewed Pereira around that time wrote that Pereira understood he might be deported and still wanted to go ahead with the guilty pleas, according to court documents and oral arguments on December 1, 2023.

But his appeals lawyer told the Appeals Court during oral arguments in December 2023 that Pereira didn’t understand the consequences of the guilty pleas and that his trial lawyer provided inadequate representation to him. She also argued that Pereira’s actions were part of a “culture of hazing,” and were not intended to be sexual assaults, that the assault charges he pleaded guilty to may legally have been lesser offenses, and that if he had gone to trial he might have gotten a better result than the convictions he accepted with the guilty pleas.

Pereira came to the United States with his mother when he was about 4 years old. They overstayed a tourist visa, which rendered them illegal immigrants.

Pereira was a student at Somerville High School at the time of the soccer camp assaults. The Somerville School Committee voted in February 2016 to issue a high school diploma to Pereira, according to minutes of the committee meeting

In October 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “initiated removal proceedings against Mr. Pereira based on the tourist visa overstay,” but he did not appear as ordered, and an immigration warrant was issued against him, according to federal prosecutors’ sentencing memorandum dated February 7, 2024. Even so, it wasn’t until March 2017 that the immigration warrant was executed, after Pereira was arrested for driving to endanger in Stoughton, according to the sentencing memorandum.

A federal immigration judge decided that Pereira’s pleas in juvenile court did not amount to convictions as an adult, but that his admission of committing the crimes removed his affirmative defenses to stay in the country, and on that basis she ordered him deported.

“The immigration judge ruled that Massachusetts youthful offender adjudications are not convictions under immigration law, but she nevertheless denied the juvenile the discretionary relief that would have allowed him to avoid deportation. She considered various positive factors that the juvenile had brought forward, but in the end deemed these outweighed by the nature andseverity of the sexual assaults, which the juvenile independently admitted to having committed in the immigration proceedings,” state Appeals Court said in its decision last week.

In August 2018, federal immigration authorities deported Pereira to Brazil, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Boston.

“In Brazil, Mr. Pereira lived with a grandmother (who has since passed away) and struggled to find his way in a country that he did not know. After a relatively short time in Brazil, Mr. Pereira elected to take his chances and return to the United States,” Pereira’s defendant’s sentencing memorandum filed by his federal public defender on February 7, 2024.

He illegally re-entered the United States. He was arrested in January 2020. In September 2023 he pleaded guilty to unlawful re-entry of an alien. On February 28, 2024, a federal judge sentenced Pereira to time served (about six weeks) plus one year of supervised release.

Pereira is married to a woman he met in January 2017. They have two small children and a puppy, according to a letter written to the court by his wife. His wife said Pereira is active in the couple’s church, which she did not name.

“Although lacking authorization to work legally, Mr. Pereira initially supported himself with various under-the-table opportunities performing cleaning services and manual labor. However, for the past three years or so, he has been a stay-at-home father and caretaker to his two young child[ren],” Pereira’s defendant’s sentencing memorandum states.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court, which is the second highest court in the state, did not agree with the defense’s case that Pereira received inadequate representation and that he didn’t understand the potential consequences of the guilty pleas.

“We also are unpersuaded by the juvenile’s argument that his plea was not knowing and voluntary,” the court said.

The court also said Pereira’s motivations – whether hazing or otherwise – are irrelevant to the crimes he admitted committing.

“Whether the juvenile was motivated by sexual desire is beside the point,” the court said.

As to whether Pereira might have avoided some of the serious convictions if he had gone to trial, the court said:  “We consider it self-evident that forcefully jabbing a broomstick at someone’s anus creates a risk of serious injury that qualifies a broomstick used in that manner as a dangerous weapon.”

The court said the status of Pereira’s immigration proceedings is not clear, but noted that his lawyer during oral arguments suggested that federal immigration authorities may have been waiting the state Appeals Court’s decision on Pereira’s youthful offender guilty pleas.

The three judges in the case were James Milkey, Andrew D’Angelo, and Gabrielle Wolohojian, who on April 22 joined the state’s highest court, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The Appeals Court case is called Commonwealth vs. Taron T., with a docket number of 22-P-1081. It was decided Friday, May 24, 2024.


New to NewBostonPost? Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts. But you’ve found it. Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months. And join the real revolution.