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Pity for beggar ends in assault Saturday, March 11, 2006
Norman Miller 508-626-3823 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- Jose Vasquez is a homeless, Level 3 sex offender who Framingham Police say they have tried to help numerous times.

The Police Department's patience may have reached its limits on Thursday, when Vasquez, also known as "The Boss," was arrested after police said he inappropriately grabbed a man who gave him $5.

For Vasquez, 51, it is the 133rd time he has been taken into custody, either for public drunkenness or because he was arrested, since 1988.  Police spokesman Lt. Paul Shastany said the department may have reached the limit of how much help it can give him.

"Jose is incorrigible.  There isn't a police officer on the force who doesn't know him," Shastany said.  "We've been trying to do everything we could do with him.  He's been in jail several times.  He's been put in programs, several times against his will."

Shastany said the Police Department takes part in the Jail Diversion Program, meant to help those with mental health issues.

The Jail Diversion Program was created by the Framingham Police and Advocates Inc., where clinical social workers ride along with police officers to calls involving people with mental illness.

They determine when people who commit nonviolent acts, such as creating public disturbances, should be sent to community-based mental health and substance abuse programs instead of being arrested.

It has not worked for Vasquez.

"The Police Department is doing everything it can, but I think the only solution is incarceration," said Shastany.  "Treatment doesn't seem to be helping."

Vasquez's history is full of several minor arrests, including trespassing, disorderly conducts and disturbing the peace.  He was arrested several times in the 1990s for assault and battery.

But, in 1975, he was convicted of indecent assault and battery, and in 2002, he was convicted of five counts of open and gross lewdness.  Those two crimes earned him a designation as a Level 3 sex offender, those considered by the state as the most dangerous and the most likely to re-offend.

On Thursday, the original arrest was at 6:26 p.m. for trespassing, Shastany said.

Officer Christopher Langmeyer was on bicycle patrol when he saw Vasquez leaving the Amazon Globe on Concord Street, from which he has been banned, Shastany said.

Langmeyer took Vasquez into custody when he was approached by a man, who told the officer he was assaulted by the 5-foot tall, 150-pound Vasquez.

"He did not know Mr. Vasquez but felt bad for him, and he saw him panhandling and the man gave him $5," said Shastany. "Jose appeared to be intoxicated, unable to stand, so the man reached over to steady him.  Jose turned around and held the guy's arm and used his other hand and grabbed his (the victim's) groin.  The male victim pushed him away, aghast."

Vasquez was charged with trespassing and indecent assault and battery on a person older than 14 for Thursday's incident, Shastany said.  He was ordered held on $1,000 bail after his Framingham District Court arraignment yesterday.

Shastany said he hopes Vasquez can get some help if he is convicted of the latest incident.

"The court is frustrated because the system doesn't accommodate someone like this," said Shastany.  "He has no family.  He has no support system.  He just exists."

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