2001 IN REVIEW: `Paddleboro' charges fizzle

Ben Davis and Stefany Reid at Attleboro District Court.

ATTLEBORO — In what might have become a high-profile trial, two defendants arrested by police at a sadomasochistic party ended this year when a judge threw out most of the charges.

A judge's ruling siding with the defendants led to assault charges being dropped against a guest at the S&M party and the host being acquitted of running a house of prostitution.

Although found innocent of the most serious charges against him, host Benjamin Davis, 25, admitted that police had sufficient evidence against him to prove he assaulted a police officer in a hallway outside the sadomasochist party.

But that charge, the only one of 13 to stick in the case, will be dismissed in April if the former Foxboro resident has no more run-ins with the law.

Assault charges against party guest Stefany Reed of Manhattan, were dropped after a judge threw out statements and evidence that police gathered after they entered the party in the Foster Building on July 8, 2000.

Reed, 40, was charged with spanking another woman on the buttocks with a wooden spoon. She always denied the charge and said she passed a lie detector test.

Judge Francis T. Crimmins Jr. agreed to throw out evidence in the case after defense lawyers contended the police raid was illegal and violated their clients' constitutional rights.

The case brought national attention to Attleboro and criticism of how police conducted the raid. Amid the outcry, S&M enthusiasts formed the Paddleboro Defense League to raise money to pay for Davis' legal bills.

With Davis' $28,000 legal tab paid, the defense league is now considering helping to defray Reed's costs.

Reed, then a vice president of sales for a Web-based cosmetics company, initially declined financial help when the legal battle began last year.

Reed said recently that she paid $25,000 for her legal expenses and changed her mind about accepting PDL funds after learning the fund had a surplus.

Stephen Duhamel, a PDL spokesman, said the league has a surplus of about $6,000 and members of the steering committee have expressed support for Reed's request for assistance.

No action has been taken and Reed said she has not yet received any money.

Reed says she should receive financial assistance from PDL because much of the notoriety the case received arose out of the charges against her.

“ All the slogans and everything they got was because of my case,” said Reed, who now works for a Web page design company in Manhattan.

Davis could not be reached for comment about his plans. After his acquittal, however, he expressed a wish to move on with his life.

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