There were only two media outlets who asked tough questions in the Irish Boston nanny case from the get go.
The first was Boston Herald journalist Peter Gelzinis, who surely deserves a Pulitzer for his dogged pursuit in the case.
He spotted right away that a runaway prosecutor was trying to make his name by convicting the nanny in a child death case, even if the evidence strongly suggested otherwise.
As it now turns out Rehma Sabir was a very sick baby for reasons unconnected to any abuse by the nanny.
The second outlet was Irish Central/Irish Voice – based not on in-depth reporting but knowledge from within the community about what kind of woman the suspected baby killer Aisling Brady Mccarthy, a native of Cavan, really was.
For that I have to thank Father John McCarthy of the Boston Irish Pastoral Center, the very definition of a good priest who has done incredible work with Irish emigrants since coming to Boston many years ago.
I got to know Father John during the heyday of the immigration movement when he was a chief organizer in Boston and the respect for him back then was palpable.
I knew he was probably visiting Aisling in prison, as he does all Irish emigrants in trouble, and I asked him during one of my trips to Boston did he think she was guilty. John fixed me with a steely eyed look and stated emphatically words that approximated, “I have never met a more innocent person.”
That was good enough for me – I became convinced Aisling was innocent and wrote that many times. To say some folks were angry at that thesis is to put it mildly. Defending alleged baby killers is not popular.
So when I saw this full statement from the medical examiner, who had re-examined the case yesterday, it was hard not to feel justice at last at very long last was being done. Following her statement the prosecution dropped their case.
The Medical Examiner wrote: “After review of additional materials including expert witness reports from the defense and prosecution, additional transcripts of police interviews, transcripts of grand jury testimony, additional medical records, DCF reports, and additional laboratory testing related to the death of Rehma Sabir, a decision has been made to change the cause and manner of death.
"These additional materials put forth several different and often conflicting opinions about the cause of Rehma's death. While I do not agree with all of the conclusions that are drawn by the various experts they do present a significant amount of additional information that was not available to me prior to reaching my original conclusion about the cause and manner of death in this case. In particular the overall state of Rehma's health and her past medical issues raise the possibility that she had some type of disorder that was not able to be completely diagnosed prior to her death.
"Review of Rehma's coagulation and hematology testing, her history of bruising, the NIH guidelines for diagnosis of von Willebrand disease, and literature on the subject suggest to me that Rehma's low von Willebrand factor could have made her prone to easy bleeding with relatively minor trauma. Given these uncertainties, I am no longer convinced that the subdural hemorrhage in this case could only have been caused by abusive/inflicted head trauma, and I can no longer rule the manner of death as a homicide. I believe that enough evidence has been presented to raise the possibility that the bleeding could have been related to an accidental injury in a child with a bleeding risk or possibly could have even been a result of an undefined natural disease. As such I am amending the cause and manner of death to reflect this uncertainty.”
Game, set and match. Poor little Rehma was a very sick kid to begin with. Her death had nothing to do with the nanny.
Former Middlesex County prosecutor Gerry Leone framed the case for the media starring Aisling Brady McCarthy as the illegal Irish nanny from hell. He’s now long gone from the case having got his headlines.
Now it turns out that much of that reporting and innuendo was false.
The tragic child had certainly been ill – the worst injuries happened weeks before the January 2013 death and at a time when the baby’s mother had traveled with the child to her native Pakistan and Aisling Brady McCarthy was thousands of miles away.
That was the testimony given by the medical experts for the prosecution, not the defense. They found compression fractures of the spine occurred weeks before the death, at a time when the nanny was nowhere near the child.
It took the defense months to get that evidence from the prosecutors, who had already incurred the judge’s ire with their slow response to defense requests to share evidence.
Why would they be foot-dragging? Could it be they realized this case was just one vast, overblown, over-hyped accusation against an innocent woman?
Aisling Brady McCarthy was an undocumented, very vulnerable woman who proclaimed her innocence and who has found massive community support in Boston.
Justice has finally prevailed in her case thanks to a brilliant lawyer, one superb journalist with the Boston Herald and an Irish community that rallied around her.
All along that community has defended her loyally and warned that the true story had not yet come out.
Alas, she will now be deported having come here undocumented.
Will anyone now have the guts to charge the original prosecutor given the fact he proceeded with a murder case more full of holes than a gopher’s picnic field?
I’d bet not.