A paraplegic from Massachusetts may be facing 10 years in prison for hitting a man with a bat after the man laughingly admitted molesting his 3-year-old granddaughter, according to a police report.
Francis Hebert, 57, of Martha's Vineyard was charged with a felony assault charge by Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe for the incident that happened Feb. 22. The accused molester was also charged by police for allegedly molesting two young Massachusetts girls.
"I'd do it again tomorrow, knowing the consequence," Hebert told the Boston Herald. "I didn't have a choice. A 10-year-old kid could take me. This is not about me. This is about a tiny child."
Hebert and his common-law wife learned about the alleged abuse from their 3-year-old granddaughter who said her stepfather, Joshua A. Hardy, had abused her and had taken naked photos of her with his cell phone camera.
Hebert called police Feb. 22 to tell them about the allegations and to tell them they would be able to find Hardy at Hebert's Vineyard Haven, Mass., computer store that afternoon. Hardy was planning to stop by to pick up the girl.
Police warned Hebert not to confront Hardy. According to a police report by Trooper Robert Branca, "Hebert assured me that he would not touch him. However, he did state he wanted to confront him."
Hebert brought a baseball bat with him and when Hardy arrived, Hebert confronted him about the girl's accusation. When Hardy allegedly admitted to the abuse, an enraged Hebert swung the Louisville slugger and slammed Hardy on the arm, according to Branca's report.
Branca said in his police report that when he arrived at the computer store moments after Hardy showed up, he asked Hebert where Hardy was. "He told me, 'He's right there, crying like a baby.' I observed Hardy sitting in a chair clutching his right elbow," the trooper wrote.
"Hebert told me he had hit him with the bat because Hardy had laughed at him and the situation," Branca wrote.
Hebert faces a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, which could result in a 10 year sentence, if convicted. Branca said he confiscated the Louisville Slugger as evidence.
Ten years ago, a car accident left Hebert unable to use his legs. He relies on an electric wheelchair to get around. Hebert is not the biological grandfather of the girl. She is the granddaughter of his wife and has helped raise her.
Hebert told the Boston Herald that he wanted only to detain Hardy until police came.
"All I had was a 39-inch-long baseball bat," he told the newspaper. "I never intended to hit him. If I was a standing man, I wouldn't have brought a bat, but without it, I am a bloody ragdoll."
Hardy, 27, is being held at the Plymouth County House of Correction on $125,000 cash bail. He was arraigned Feb. 23 on three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, one count of enticing a child and one count of disseminating obscene material.
In March, Hardy was charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 based relating to a separate case involving another girl.