by Madeline Linnell ‘17
BROCKTON, Mass. — A 24-year-old man, who was a Gordon student at the time, was arrested on August 28 and charged with making inappropriate sexual advances toward a 15-year-old girl.
Mischael P. Celestin—commonly known as Pierre on campus—was charged with indecent assault and battery on a person 14 years or over in Brockton, a city south of Boston where he lives, according to court records. Celestin allegedly harassed the girl with text messages and thought she had agreed to meet him—but when he waited for her at an agreed-upon location, he instead was confronted by members of her family. The Brockton Police Department (BPD) found a bottle of Hennessy and two condoms in Celestin’s backpack. Celestin admitted that he was the owner of these items, according to a police report.
College officials wouldn’t say when Celestin ceased to be a student at Gordon. But Vice President for Student Life Jennifer Jukanovich said police informed Gordon of Celestin’s arrest and the “college took appropriate action that same evening to ensure this person is no longer permitted to be on campus.”
“In rare situations like this where an off-campus disciplinary matter affects our community, the college can take action to protect the community if the matter poses a risk to the campus, as we felt it might in this case,” Jukanovich wrote in an email responding to the Tartan.
Celestin’s public defender, Joshua Weinberger, declined to comment when contacted by a Tartan reporter. Celestin is scheduled to return to court Nov. 4.
A woman who answered the door of Celestin’s home did not respond to two Tartan reporters’ questions.
According to the police report, Celestin called Brockton police the morning of August 28, reporting a robbery on Ash Street. He claimed that a group of six people approached him as he sat on the curb between 1:30 and 2 a.m. They took his backpack, Celestin said, and returned shortly afterward and tried to hit him with a car.
While officers were with Celestin at the scene of the alleged robbery, police wrote in their report, he pointed out a parked car that he said was the one whose driver tried to run him over.
Police then found the alleged victim’s guardians, and they admitted to confronting Celestin and taking his backpack. They said they had found text messages from Celestin on the girl’s phone in which Celestin expressed a desire to hang out with her and that “he was ok” with her being 15 years old (she had previously informed him of her age), police wrote in their report. Her family sent a text message to Celestin on her phone, asking to meet with him on August 28 under the pretense that it was she—the minor—who was sending the request, the report states. The group’s driver said she hit the curb while operating the vehicle, but it was not in an effort to run over Celestin, police wrote in their report.
The 15-year-old said she has known Celestin for about two weeks prior to the incident. He had followed her during her walk home from school, according to the police report, which also states: “She claimed Mr. Celestin was very aggressive in requesting they be friends together. She claimed he would not take no for an answer.”
After much persistence on the defendant’s part, the minor eventually conceded to giving him her number, she said, according to police. On one occasion Celestin had grabbed “her waist and began to rub his private area against hers” during a walk on Main Street, which she was uncomfortable with, the minor claimed. “He then forcibly kissed her.” Also in her account are details of the types of phrases he would say to her, like “I’ll buy you anything you want.” In the police report, it says that Celestin denied ever touching her to the police.
According to Press Officer Beth Stone of Plymouth’s District Attorney’s Office, Celestin was arraigned and later released on $1,000 cash bail. The terms included that he “must wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, stay away from the victim and all children under 18 years old,” said Stone.
Numerous students said they witnessed Celestin on campus the days leading up to his arrest; he was even seen in the Ken Olsen Science Center on the same day of his release. One student told the Tartan he was in classes with Celestin this term before Celestin’s arrest.
Shalom Maleachi contributed to this article.