|Sexual Danger of Suspect Probed
Eisenberg Deemed 'Not Dangerous' after Two Rape Convictions
By Gary V. Murray
Telegram & Gazette
December 5, 2007
WORCESTER— Despite two rape convictions, Leeland E. Eisenberg, the man accused of taking hostages last week at Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign office in New Hampshire, was determined not to be a sexually dangerous person more than 20 years ago, court records show.
On April 15, 1987, Mr. Eisenberg, who changed his name from Ralph E. Woodward Jr., pleaded guilty in Worcester Superior Court to charges of aggravated rape and assault with a dangerous weapon (knife), stemming from an armed sexual assault that occurred on Nov. 8, 1986, in Leominster.
A prosecutor in Rochester, N.H., said yesterday that the 46-year-old Mr. Eisenberg committed the Leominster rape after being sentenced for a 1985 sexual assault in Worcester and
escaping from a halfway house in Boston.
Mr. Eisenberg is being held on $500,000 cash bail on charges of taking six hostages at Ms. Clinton's presidential campaign office in Rochester, N.H., on Friday, after displaying what he said was an explosive device strapped to his chest.
Authorities said the device turned out to be made up of road flares.
Mr. Eisenberg called CNN during the 5-1/2-hour standoff and told the news network he wanted to talk to the candidate by telephone about getting psychiatric treatment he said he could not afford.
After accepting Mr. Eisenberg's guilty pleas in the Leominster rape in April 1987, Judge Robert V. Mulkern, since retired, committed Mr. Eisenberg to the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater to determine whether he was sexually dangerous.
Two qualified examiners affiliated with the treatment center evaluated Mr. Eisenberg and concluded he was not a sexually dangerous person, according to court records.
"Although Mr. Woodward has been convicted of two separate sexual assaults, I do not think he is likely to attack or inflict injury in a sexual assault again," psychologist Ruth Rosenberg wrote in her report to the court.
The second examiner, Leonard Bard, said in his June 16, 1987, report that "the nature and context in which the patient committed his offenses suggests that he is not likely to repeat his crimes."
Mr. Bard said Mr. Eisenberg did not meet the definition of a sexually dangerous person under the law as it existed at that time.
Both examiners said Mr. Eisenberg would benefit, however, from therapy and drug and alcohol treatment. Ms. Rosenberg said individual therapy would help Mr. Eisenberg resolve "loss and anger" issues.
On Sept. 11, 1987, Judge Mulkern sentenced Mr. Eisenberg to 11 to 20 years in state prison.
State Department of Correction officials said Mr. Eisenberg was released from prison in March 2005.
While still behind bars, Mr. Eisneberg bombarded the Worcester Superior Court clerk's office with a slew of post-conviction motions in which he sought to withdraw his guilty pleas and asked that his sentence be revoked and revised.
The court filings, most of which Mr. Eisenberg wrote himself, now fill a cardboard box.
From 1987 to 1991 alone, Judge Mulkern denied a motion to revise and revoke Mr. Eisenberg's sentence and three motions asking him to reconsider his earlier denial.
In a 1989 affidavit filed with the court, Mr. Eisenberg said the aggravated rape charge evolved from an agreement between the victim and himself to engage in sexual activities for a fee.
He also said he was "in a severe state of my mental illness and heavily intoxicated and under the influence of drugs" at the time of the crime.
"Both the woman and myself were drinking and using drugs very heavily, it was over drugs and money that I feel she went forth with these charges," Mr. Eisenberg said in a handwritten affidavit.
He asked the judge to restructure his sentence to enable him to get additional treatment for substance abuse and mental health problems.
A motion to withdraw his guilty plea filed by Mr. Eisenberg in 1994, after Judge Mulkern's retirement, was denied without a hearing by Judge Herbert F. Travers Jr., who also has since retired.
In another motion, acted upon by Judge John S. McCann on Aug. 23, 2006, Mr. Eisenberg sought his release from custody, arguing that his sentence was illegally lengthened because prison policies precluded him from seeking parole.
While Judge McCann found that Mr. Eisenberg had been subjected to an "illegal sentence" because he had been denied access to parole for nine years beyond what parole eligibility guidelines called for, his ruling came after Mr. Eisenberg had already been released from prison.
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