Letter to the Editor

Commit to the Custody

An open letter to Assistant District Attorney Emery Donatelle

I am writing to you as a 34-year resident of Boston and Beacon Hill.

Over the last 34 years, I certainly have seen my share of crime in and around our neighborhood.  However, the recent one-man crime wave of James Schaff stands out. It stands out both because of the brazen nature of the actions, and the repetition of these burglaries on Charles Street just a few months after his 2023 arrest for similar burglaries.  In both circumstances, the Boston Police Department was quick to apprehend Mr. Schaff.  But significant damage to many businesses (several woman-owned) was done.

Mr. Schaff also stands out because he is a serial unregistered second-degree sex offender, based on a 1987 “aggravated rape” conviction.   As you know, Beacon Hill is not just the businesses on Charles Street, but it is a residential neighborhood with children and families, schools and day care centers.  For our neighborhood and our city to have a chronically unregistered sex offender flouting the law is completely unacceptable. 

It is clear that Mr. Schaff is unwilling and/or unable to comply with the mandates of Massachusetts law regarding sex offender registration and the sanctity of private property.  Accordingly, I ask that your office request that the court have Mr. Schaff remain in the Suffolk County jail until the time of his trial.  Assuming Mr. Schaff is convicted of (or pleads guilty to) the multiple offenses with which he is charged, I ask for that your office request that he be committed to the custody of the Commonwealth for an extended period, commensurate with his crimes and his history as a habitual offender over the last 20-plus years.

Very truly yours,

Colin J. Zick

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