Alexander Williams, 26, will have to perform 200 hours of community service at a rehabilitation center as part of his sentence for his role in the way a passenger on his party boat lost her right arm in 2015, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
Williams admitted to negligent operation of a boat, furnishing alcohol to minors, and tampering with evidence. Rather than finding him guilty, however, Suffolk Superior Court Linda Giles continued his case without a finding for two years, which means the charges will go away if he stays out of trouble for that time.
In addition to community service, Williams will have to pay $5,000 in restitution to the victim and complete a certified drug and alcohol awareness program.
Williams was among the partiers on the Naut Guilty, owned by lawyer Benjamin Urbellis, with whom Williams had done a legal fellowship the year before.
According to the DA's office:
Had the case proceeded to trial, Assistant District Attorney Gretchen Sherwood of the DA’s Major Felony Bureau would have introduced evidence and testimony to prove Williams was among 13 people aboard the 30-foot Chaparral vessel “Naut Guilty” on May 30, 2015. In preparation of the outing, Williams obtained what he described as “enough liquor to kill a horse” for the boats’ passengers, which included six young women Williams knew to be under age 21, prosecutors said. Among the passengers was the then-19-year-old victim.
During the boating trip, the victim and others jumped into the water after the boat was anchored in the area of Spectacle Island. Williams, who did not have knowledge of how to operate the boat, started the vessel's engine and failed to place it in neutral as the victim swam back to the boat and attempted to climb aboard. She was pulled underwater by the propeller, the evidence would have shown. As a result, the victim’s right arm was severed and she suffered severe lacerations to her left arm, legs, abdomen, and back.
Boston Police, Boston Emergency Medical Services, Boston Fire Department, State Police, Environmental Police, and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a distress call from the boat at approximately 7:45 p.m. and the victim was rushed to an area hospital for emergency surgery.
During the course of their investigation into the incident, Boston Police obtained a warrant to search Williams’ phone and arrived at Williams’ Longfellow Place residence on the morning of June 18, 2015. However, when officers received Williams’ phone, its contents had been erased, prosecutors said.
In her victim statement, Nicole Berthiaume said:
You will rarely hear me complain about the incident, and you will almost never hear me complain about my disability, but that does not mean that it doesn’t kill me every time I look in a mirror, drop something, or accept help from someone.
I am a strong independent person; that’s something that has not and will never change. I don’t want help from other people, I don’t want people to think I am incapable of anything. I would rather struggle putting on a coffee coozie at Starbucks for 10 minutes and spill it everywhere when I open my car door than have anyone over me help. But to the world I am a damaged disabled person, so most times I will sacrifice my own pride and kindly accept the unwanted help, even though that itself is the most debilitating part.