Saturday, March 21, 2015


1957 (Titicut Blues)

raymond you’ve been rotting away in bridgewater state hospital since
before i was born
i’m not sure if they’re force feeding you mush in a monkey cell or
if you’re finally taking the dirt nap out in the yard
apologies for not keeping up
not sure if anyone thanked you for mom and dad’s wedding present
singing castrati in the park trumps waterford crystal any day and
you made the news from whitman to niagra, top of the world, ma
growing up in your shadow was a bitch
afraid of loud noises, not playing well with others
liking monster movies better than football
my guesstimated palmistry led to singing castrati
expectations i caught hints of, expectations i couldn’t comprehend
a monkey cell with my name on it
hearing, “he’ll never have a normal life,”
hearing, “we have to keep him away from his younger brother,”
hearing, “keep him away from the neighborhood kids,”
hearing, “I had a cousin who was just like you.”
your shadow like a millstone, a suffocating blanket
because biology is destiny
because ignorance is morality
because some people can’t make the fine distinction
between high functioning autism and violent, homicidal pedophilia
raymond my childhood is locked up with you in bridgewater state hospital
and on the off chance that you’re still above ground
don’t bother writing back

Published in BARKING SYCAMORES 2014

The first thing I tell people when they ask about 1957 is that it was the year my parents got married.

It was as horrific a crime as the city of Brockton has witnessed.
Fifty years ago last week, on July 26, 1957, two young brothers from Stoughton were reported missing after a summer outing at D.W. Field Park in Brockton. The nude, burned bodies of John, 12, and Paul Logan, 11, were found nearby the following day.
Their murder, and what followed, left its mark not only on the family and friends of the boys, but also on the region. Outrage over the crime helped create what is today the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater. And the state's sex offender laws were overhauled in the wake of events that day.
The Logan brothers had taken a bus from neighboring Stoughton to one of the swimming ponds at Brockton's 800-acre park. When they failed to return home that afternoon, a search began. All Brockton police and firefighters were called into duty to comb the area.
It was learned that the boys had been swimming that day at the park's Ellis Brett Pond. Initially it was feared that they had drowned, and the pond was drained. Other ponds were dragged as part of the search effort.
The worst fears were realized the following morning when Firefighter Robert Gould went to investigate smoke coming from a gully near Thirty Acre Pond.
There he found the charred bodies, bound together by rope. The boys had been stabbed repeatedly in the chest and abdomen.
Investigators found a house key, apparently dropped inadvertently, under the bodies.
Police took that key to the home of Raymond Ohlson, 21, of Brockton.
Ohlson was known to the police. He had been released seven weeks earlier from the Concord Reformatory, where he had been incarcerated since the age of 15 for a sex crime that had occurred in 1951 at the same park -- barely 100 yards from where the Logan brothers were found.
The key fit Ohlson's door.
Under police questioning, he confessed to the murders. Taken to the crime scene, he described in detail how he lured the boys away from the pond, then assaulted and killed them.
The crime outraged area residents, who pressed lawmakers to revise the law so that sex offenders would not be freed to repeat their crimes.
Ohlson had originally been sentenced in 1951 to 10 years, but a court decision in 1955 reduced his sentence to six.
"That particular crime had a tremendous impact," said Charles Correia, 72, of Taunton, who spent three decades with the state Department of Correction.
Correia recalled how reaction to the boys' murders fed support for a law authorizing the treatment center, which opened less than two years later.
It was specifically targeted, he said, at repeat sex offenders.
"The state started to focus much more on treatment," he said, "and added many mental health clinicians in an attempt to rehabilitate repeat offenders."
A state-issued booklet titled, "A Chronology of the Correctional Facility at Bridgewater" by Kimberly M. Urban, published in 1987, noted that the murders of the Logan brothers led to many revisions in the sex-offender laws, and supported funding for the Treatment Center.
The center today houses 559 patients and inmates, and its population in recent years has hovered around that number.
Nearly all of its residents have been convicted of rape, molestation, or other sexual assaults.
The center -- part of the larger Bridgewater Correctional Complex, which includes Bridgewater State Hospital and the Old Colony Correctional Center -- is seen as an important element in the state's correctional alternatives.
Ironically, Ohlson never entered the facility his crime created.
He was determined by the courts to be incompetent to stand trial for the murders, and was committed to Bridgewater State Hospital.
Ohlson spent the remainder of his life there, largely uneventfully, until his death in 2003.
"He was the most docile inmate. He almost seemed like he enjoyed it there at the state hospital," Correia said. "He blended in. He never created problems or got into any trouble.
"Some of these types of sex criminals almost know deep down that it's dangerous for them to be on the street."
Asked if it were within the realm of possibility that Ohlson actually planted the house key under the bodies so that he would get caught, Correia responded, "As crazy as that sounds, that wouldn't shock me."


  1. Thankya, sir.....
    The funny thing about this case is, although it suppopsedly rocked the region in its time, you'd be surprised as to how little there is on it out there.....this article from '07 is literally the only thing I've found on it.