New Bedford’s More Infamous Crimes and Criminals [OPINION]
Like all cities, New Bedford has a great history and some terrible history. The highway serial killer of the 1980s is among the most interesting and unsolved.
The serial killer who roamed the streets of New Bedford killing women has avoided arrest for over 40 years. The investigation has spanned the careers of four Bristol County District Attorneys. There is still an opportunity to solve the case.
The best catalyst to solve the case is journalist and author Maureen Boyle. Her book Shallow Graves continues to keep the memories of the victims alive and hopefully will trigger some other people to remember something and come forward. As a crime reporter, she covered the case from the beginning. Today, she is a testament to the importance of solid journalism and the meaning of the First Amendment. Fortunately, she is teaching the generation of journalists at Stonehill College in Easton.
Unfortunately, New Bedford gets all of the blame for the serial killer, when in fact none of the victims were found in the city limits. The dead bodies were found in Freetown, Marion, Dartmouth, and Westport, mostly near state highways. Read Boyle's book and you will understand the case and the enduring mystery.
New Bedford was also the site of a gang rape in the 1980s. The rape of a woman at Big Dan's Tavern inspired a movie starring Jodie Foster and the disgusting misogynistic humor of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who passed away yesterday. When the defendants were convicted, there was a rally in New Bedford and in Fall River. The riotous crowd was there to support the convicted rapists, not the victim.
The criminal at the center of a decades-long FBI corruption scandal and related cover-ups was Joseph Barboza, who was born and bred on the streets of New Bedford. He was a hoodlum and an associate of the New England Mafia. He was a murderer and a loanshark and he was an FBI asset. He told lies for the FBI and the government covered it all up. Falsely accused men spent decades and some died in jail and murderers went free. Barboza was eventually gunned down in California but some alleged members of the Boston faction of La Cosa Nostra. Before "Whitey" Bulger, it was Joe "The Baron" Barboza and the FBI in bed together.
Barboza is dead and most of the corrupt FBI agents have been outed. The rapists went to jail and served their time. But the serial killer has yet to be identified and so the pursuit of justice must go on.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.