David Fried Oppenheim On Trial For The Rape Of A 14 Year Old Child UPDATE: David Fried Oppenheimto Sentenced To 5-7 Years In State Prison

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Normal David Fried Oppenheim On Trial For The Rape Of A 14 Year Old Child UPDATE: David Fried Oppenheimto Sentenced To 5-7 Years In State Prison

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:29 pm

January 30, 2012



NORTHAMPTON – Through frequent tears and long silences, the alleged victim of child rape at the hands of David Fried Oppenheim testified in Hampshire Superior Court on Monday, describing the first month of almost two years worth of alleged sexual assault.

The Republican is not identifying the victim, who is now 20 years old, but was 14 at the time the alleged abuse occurred.

During testimony Monday afternoon, she claimed she met Fried Oppenheim in early 2005 when she was 13 while auditioning for a part in the Pioneer Arts Center of Easthampton production of "Into The Woods." She was cast as a tree.

She said, "That was my dream. It was everything to me. ... PACE was a really great theater and a great community."

She testified that she began taking on a larger role in the theater, as an intern, volunteer, performer and acting student. She said, "The defendant meant a lot to me. ... There was this urge to please him and earn praise from him."

In October 2005, she testified, Fried Oppenheim began using rehearsals for the play "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" to get her alone for one-on-one acting lessons.

It was during that time, she claims, that Fried Oppenheim taught her an acting technique he developed called "Primitives."

The alleged victim said Fried Oppenheim instructed her to write down in a journal her reactions to physical sensations, which she could recall later to bring her to desired emotional states while acting. She was 14 at the time.

"It could be anything, like having an itch, or whatever. You would write that down," she testified. She added that Fried Oppenheim said "I needed to experience other physical sensations that other kids wouldn't so I would be ahead."

She said Fried Oppenheim gave her her first kiss during one of the classes.

"I trusted him and I went with it," she said. "It seemed to be working. ... I thought I was really lucky that he was giving me all this attention and helping me out."

She claimed the abuse escalated to sexual touching and eventually various forms of intercourse. Fried Oppenheim, she said, instructed her to write down all the sensations, but leave his name out of her journal.

"He told me not to tell anybody about it," she said. "He said, 'Society doesn't understand what I'm doing here.'"

She testified the abuse occurred "multiple, multiple, multiple times."

Judge Mary-Lou Rup called the day's proceedings to an end in the middle of the testimony when it became clear she was struggling to detail an alleged incident in Fried Oppenheim's office. The trial will resume at 9 a.m.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Linda Pisano, the case's prosecutor, said during her opening statement that the abuse ended when the alleged victim began a relationship. The couple is still together and living in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the alleged victim now attends a music school.

Defense attorney David P. Hoose urged the jurors to look at witness statements critically.

"Witnesses will describe her as a constant bundle of joy ... who was accomplishing great things," he said of the alleged victim. He asked the jurors if it was possible for her to be so happy if she were being raped "every single day."

"Of course these things happen," he said. "If marriage was invented on Day One, then marital infidelity was probably invented on Day Two."

But, he said, Fried Oppenheim was a reliable friend for youths at PACE. Witnesses, he said, would describe him as "warm," "touchy-feely" and "available to the young people there."

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Last edited by NiteSpinR on Sat May 18, 2013 10:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Normal UPDATE: David Fried Oppenheimto Sentenced To 5-7 Years In State Prison

Post by NiteSpinR on Sat May 18, 2013 10:54 pm

March 13, 2012

Back in 2005, my editors sent me to the Northampton drinking establishment Packards to do a story on the city’s new policy that allowed bars to stay open until 2 a.m. on certain nights. Even though I didn’t indulge, it wasn’t a bad assignment. I got to watch the ballgame on TV, talk to people and stay up past my bedtime.

Towards the end of the night, David Fried Oppenheim and his wife, Sonia Fried Oppenheim, walked in. The young couple had been hard at work on this exciting new place called the Pioneer Arts Center of Easthampton. PACE, as it was known, simultaneously brought music and theater to a small city that was just coming into its own and provided a venue for the even-increasing swarm of talented local kids.

I had spoken with both David and Sonia by phone a few times in the course of my job. There had been some problems with the building code when PACE first opened, but they had worked diligently to fix them. I interviewed them on their way out the door that night. They said they were out for a nightcap after a play. Both of them seemed jazzed by that energy people have when they're on a mission.

“It’s nice to be able to have a place to go late at night,” said David Fried Oppenheim.

If only that were the last time I had to write about him.

Starting in 2010, when he was charged with raping a 14-year-old girl who performed at PACE, I’ve written another 20 stories on Fried Oppenheim, none of them pleasant. The charge became an indictment, the indictment an arraignment, the arraignment a trial. Fried Oppenheim was found guilty of five counts of child rape, each count representing a different way he had sex with the young girl. The actual number of sex acts was seemingly too many to count. She said it was more than a hundred times. A judge sentenced Fried Oppenheim to 5-7 years in state prison.

David Fried Oppenheim did a wonderful thing with PACE, but a jury of his peers determined that he did some very bad things too. Although he was only charged in connection with the one girl, three others came forward during the course of the trial to say that Fried Oppenheim had likewise courted and bedded them clandestinely in and around PACE. They were above the age of legal consent, so this wasn’t technically a crime, but they were pretty young and he was a man in his 30s. None of them, it’s fair to say, were better for that experience.

Fried Oppenheim’s wife and mother testified at the trial that PACE was a small, busy place and that it would have been impossible for all this sex to have happened under their noses without them catching on. Outside the courtroom, I ran into a bunch of other people who had been around PACE and they weren’t as surprised. The warning signs, they told me, were there.

The Fried and Oppenheim families (Fried is his birth name, Oppenheim Sonia’s) supported the defendant throughout, packing Hampshire Superior Court every step of the way. It was their ordeal as well as his and, in contrast to the families of many defendants who have passed through that court, they were invariably gracious and friendly.

The family stood by their man even after the guilty verdict, canvassing the community for letters of support urging the judge to give Fried Oppenheim a light sentence at the county jail. Although this produced an impressive haul of 48 letters, I know three people who declined to offer such support when asked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were others.

In the end, the letter-writing campaign didn’t have much of an effect. A lot of Fried Oppenheim’s state prison sentence will be served at Bridgewater, where he will receive sex offender counseling alongside some very dark characters. It’s not a cheery place to bring your five-year-old son for a Sunday visit.

I’ve been around court enough to know that good people sometimes do bad things and bad people often do bad things. I don’t know Fried Oppenheim well enough to say which he is. Several witnesses testified that he told them he’s addicted to sex. I’m not sure what that means, but I do believe many sex offenders have some wires crossed somewhere.

But this isn’t an apology for David Fried Oppenheim. Whatever tragedy he’s suffered he brought upon himself. The same isn’t true for the victim or the other girls. They put their trust in a mentor and had their innocence taken away. Although life goes on, this is something they will never have back to spend on better things.

Time is a great healer. Maybe five to seven years from now everyone will be in a better place. Me, I can't help wishing I could turn to clock back to 2005, when a late night beer and some French fries were all that mattered.

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