Lawyer: Convicted abuser dodging payment
April 26, 2014
A man recently ordered by a Vermont jury to pay $35 million in damages to a woman he was convicted of sexually assaulting years ago joined the Twelve Tribes religious community in Hyannis to avoid paying the victim, the victim’s attorney alleges.
On April 18, after a four-day trial, a Chittenden County Superior Court jury ordered Scott Isaacson, 56, to pay damages to the now 24 year old victim, whom he was convicted of assaulting between 1993 and 1999. The jury ultimately decided on the sum, but the victim’s lawyer, Jerome O’Neill, said the suggested $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages based on Isaacson’s “beyond outrageous” actions.
Isaacson was found guilty in 2000 by an Essex Superior Court in Massachusetts of three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 stemming from the assaults, which took place in locations throughout Massachusetts and during ski trips in Vermont. The victim told a babysitter and a YMCA employee, who reported the abuse, O’Neill said.
Isaacson, who served about 4 ½ years in prison, denied abusing the victim. In 2006, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a lower court’s decision to deny him a new trial.
In 2012 the victim discovered Isaacson was set to inherit a home in Marblehead and filed a civil lawsuit against him, O’Neill said. The house was sold in May 2013 and the net proceeds, which amount to about $200,000 were placed in escrow, O’Neill said. In June 2013, Isaacson filed a complaint against the victim to prevent her from obtaining any of the proceeds from the sale if she were to win the civil case, O’Neill said.
Isaacson, who represented himself in court, moved to the Cape around the time the lawsuit was filed, according to public records.
Isaacson began working at Common Ground Café in Hyannis about a year ago, said Nazer Aldokhi, café manager. The café is owned and operated by members of the Twelve Tribes, a religious community that adheres to a communal lifestyle and requires members to live modestly. Like other members, Isaacson worked at the café in exchange for room and board and did not receive any wages, Aldokhi said. In a 2013 deposition, Isaacson said he had no income.
“For (Isaacson), it’s an incredibly good way to prevent any money ever being recovered by this woman,” O’Neill said. “I think he has joined the Twelve Tribes because it’s a way to avoid paying the (victim).”
Aldokhi said Isaacson was forthright about his conviction when he started working at the café but he has denied that he abused the victim. He said Isaacson has not worked at the café since the most recent trial, and Twelve Tribes is “working on” how he will continue to earn to earn his room and board.
Aldokhi said he believes Isaacson and attended the recent trial to support him.
“No one can know definitively what the truth is in a situation like that,” said Aysh Harris, a Twelve Tribes member who answered the organization’s information line Friday.
Harris said he does not know Isaacson but trusts Aldokhi’s judgment.
“Anyone who was living immorally in any way wouldn’t be allowed to live in our community,” Harris said. A tribe member who committed abuse or another crime would not be turned over to the police but would be told to go to the police, he said.
“We definitely believe in the justice system,” Harris said. People who have made mistakes deserve a chance to live a “good, moral life,” he said.
“What I can’t fathom is why Twelve Tribes, whatever their beliefs, would have somebody who is a convicted child molester in their midst,” O’Neill said. Isaacson is required to register as a sex offender each year.
On April 3, Isaacson registered as a Level 2 sex offender with the Barnstable Police Department and provided a home address of 14 Main St. In Hyannis. Paul Sage owns the three-bedroom property according to public records. Phone calls and visits to the property Friday evening also confirmed Sage is a member of Twelve Tribes.
Isaacson could not be reached for comment Friday. A woman who answered the door at 14 Main St. said she did not know him. Aldokhi said Isaacson did not have a phone. A message left with Aldokhi for Isaacson was not returned Friday.
More links on this story: Jury awards $ 35 Million to victim of sex abuse