July 23, 2013

Ex-partner accuses Bulger of being a pedophile

Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi is undergoing cross-examination today in Bulger's racketeering trial.

By Denise Lavoie / The Associated Press

BOSTON — James "Whitey" Bulger's former partner in crime spent hours Tuesday combatively sticking to his story that Bulger strangled two young women – and even claimed that Bulger was a pedophile.

click image to enlarge

This pair of file booking photos shows Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, left, in 1974 from the Boston Police Department, and James "Whitey" Bulger, right, in 1984 from the FBI.

AP

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Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi made the accusation as Bulger's lawyer aggressively questioned him about his admission that he had engaged in oral sex with his girlfriend's teenage daughter, Deborah Hussey, in the 1970s.

"You want to talk about pedophilia – right over there at that table," Flemmi said, gesturing toward Bulger, seated at the defense table. Earlier Tuesday, Flemmi had said that Bulger had a 16-year-old girlfriend he took to Mexico on vacation with him.

Bulger, who exchanged obscenities with Flemmi shortly after he began testifying last week, glanced over at Flemmi when he made the remark, but the defendant did not have any visible reaction.

Bulger's lawyer, Hank Brennan, pressed Flemmi on his assertion that Bulger strangled Hussey in 1985 because she was using drugs, getting arrested and dropping their names when she got in trouble.

Brennan suggested that Flemmi, not Bulger, killed Hussey after she told her mother he had molested her.

Brennan also pointed out inconsistencies in Flemmi's testimony about both Hussey's killing and the murder of Debra Davis, another Flemmi girlfriend. Both Hussey and Davis were 26 when they were killed.

Bulger has strongly denied killing the women.

Flemmi testified that Bulger strangled both women with his hands, but Brennan pointed out that he had testified during earlier civil and criminal trials that Bulger used a rope.

Flemmi insisted that the inconsistencies were due to "inadvertent mistakes" he made during his testimony and that he was telling the truth about Bulger killing the two women.

Tuesday was Flemmi's fourth day testifying at Bulger's racketeering trial. Bulger, 83, is accused of participating in 19 killings during the 1970s and '80s while leading the notorious Winter Hill Gang. He fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the nation's most-wanted fugitives until he was captured in California two years ago.

Flemmi, 79, has pleaded guilty to 10 murders and is serving a life sentence. He was due back on the witness stand Wednesday.

Testifying Monday, Flemmi said Hussey's mother, Marion, had been his live-in girlfriend since Hussey was a toddler and that she had called him "Daddy."

On Tuesday, Flemmi said Deborah Hussey was 17 or 18 at the time of their sexual contact. He interrupted Brennan repeatedly and insisted he did not sexually abuse Hussey.

"I wouldn't say molested – consensual," he said.

Flemmi said Bulger decided Hussey had to be killed and said he went along with it "reluctantly." He said that on the day of the killing, he took Hussey shopping, then drove her to a home in South Boston, knowing that she'd be killed there.

Flemmi insisted that Bulger was responsible for her death.

"Did you fight for her in that house?" Brennan asked.

"You're being very dramatic," Flemmi said. Bulger "was in control. He was there. He could have walked away."

Flemmi denied an account by Bulger henchman Kevin Weeks, who testified that he saw Bulger strangling Hussey and saw Flemmi using a rope to finish the job because he believed she was still alive.

"No, I didn't," Flemmi said after Brennan recounted Weeks' testimony. Flemmi said that after she was dead, he removed a tight brown sweater she was wearing by pulling it over her head.

Flemmi acknowledged that he pulled some of Hussey's teeth out to make identification of her body more difficult, but he said he couldn't remove all her teeth.

"I was in a semi-traumatic state," he said. "It was very distasteful to do and it was very difficult for me to do."

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