NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, said today he is vehemently opposed to using taxpayer’s funds to pay for sex reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer.
“I am both shocked and outraged that a federal judge would ask the people of Massachusetts to spend scarce tax dollars for such a frivolous request by a convicted killer,” Moore said.
Moore joined with other legislative colleagues to sign a letter urging the Department of Correction (DOC) to appeal the decision by United States District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf to mandate the DOC to pay for such treatment.
Earlier this week Judge Wolf, in the case of Kosilek v. Spencer, ordered the state to pay for sex change surgery for Michelle Kosilek - formerly known as Robert, who is imprisoned for life for murdering his wife, Cheryl McCaul. Kosilek has been petitioning the DOC for the surgery for several years.
Kosilek, 63, was convicted in 1992 of strangling his wife, Cheryl, and leaving her body at a North Attleboro mall. Prosecutors said at his trial — where he wore women’s clothing, long nails and long hair — that he killed her and splurged hundreds of dollars on women’s clothing and makeup to start a new life as a single woman.
The letter from the legislators calls on Corrections Commissioner Lewis Spencer to “vigorously pursue every available appellate option to reverse the Court’s mistake.”
The letter was drafted by Senate Republican Leader Bruce E. Tarr, R-Gloucester. Reaching across the aisle to work with the leader of the Senate’s Republicans is not unusual for the veteran Uxbridge Democrat. Earlier this year, Senators Tarr and Moore worked together to successfully push for stronger penalties for illegal aliens and others who drive without a license.
The letter being sent by legislators to the Commissioner of Corrections states:
“We write this letter in response to the recent decision from the United States District Court in the case of Kosilek v. Spencer. We are greatly troubled by the Court’s finding that the Eighth Amendment requires the state and the Department of Correction to provide sex reassignment surgery to a convicted murderer. We urge you and the department to vigorously pursue every available appellate option to reverse the Court’s mistake.
“Michelle Kosilek is imprisoned for life for murdering his wife, Cheryl McCaul. The nature of his punishment—life imprisonment without the possibility of parole—sheds light on the heinousness of the crime. The defendant strangled his wife with a wire and left her body in a car at a local shopping mall.
“Since his imprisonment for murder in the first degree Kosilek has argued and now successfully convinced a court that he is at high risk of serious harm if he does not receive sex reassignment surgery. We find such a suggestion to be unjustifiable, against the better judgment of the citizens of this state, and offensive to the family of Cheryl McCaul. We urge you to continue your appropriate stand against such a procedure until every option of appeal has been pursued.
“The Court’s decision, if left standing, will compel an absurd action by your department. Clearly the Eighth Amendment provides important protections when a person enters our prison system, but it cannot be fairly said to require the state to accommodate every last need and want of convicted murderers. A decision that suggests the failure to provide sex reassignment surgery to a first degree murderer equals an ‘unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain’ is a decision that must be overturned and therefore must be subjected to appellate review. We ask that you seek that review,” the letter concluded.