Gang Rape Trial Tapes Donated to Law School

The controversial Big Dan's gang rape trial will soon be scrutinized by students at the law School, which last week received videotapes compiled by a local cable television station.

In the widely-publicized New Bedford trial, held over 33 days last spring, four men were acquitted of raping a woman on a barroom pool table while a crowd of patrons allegedly cheered.

The Greater Fall River Cable TV Co., which provided gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial, drew strong criticism from the pressing judge, Williams G Young '62, for broadcasting the name of the alleged victim. News organizations traditionally honor the privacy of alleged rape victims.

In a letter after the trial responding to Young's attack, company officials asked to whom they might donate the tapes. Young, a lecturer at the Law School and a faculty member at Boston University Law School, suggested that the tapes be given to area law schools.

Following Young's suggestion, the company forwarded the tapes to Harvard, where they will be, catalogued. Any law school wishing to use them will have access.


The six boxes of tapes will require several months of editing, according to Ellen J. Miller, director of Law School audio-visual affairs. Once edited, they will be used for studying various aspects of trial procedure, such as delivering closing statements and questioning witnesses.

The tapes will be edited into 30- or 40- minute segments, each emphasizing particular legal techniques, Miller added, noting that the segments will be used primarily in trial advocacy classes.

Miller did not know which Law School facility members would be especially interested in the tapes. Young has said he may use the tapes at his B.U. evidence class.

Young is currently presiding over Smoki Bacon's $4 million lawsuit against Kemper Insurance Co., a Suffolk County civil case being tried in the Law School's Ames Courtroom for students' observation