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Rhode Island Fishing Boat Captain Convicted of Assaulting two NOAA Monitors

September 18, 2012

Boston - A Rhode Island man, the captain of a commercial fishing vessel, was convicted on Friday in federal court for assaulting two women on board the vessel he was operating. The assaults occurred while the vessel was fishing far out at sea after departing from the Port of New Bedford.

Richard Wetherell, 61, of Jamestown, R.I., was convicted following a five-day trial on two counts of forcibly assaulting, impeding, intimidating, or interfering with the duties of two federal at-sea monitors. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Wetherell faces up to six months in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release, and a fine of $100,000 on each of the counts.

During the course of two separate commercial fishing trips in July 2010, Wetherell, the captain of the vessel, forcibly assaulted, intimidated, impeded, and interfered with the respective at-sea monitor whose responsibilities included collecting data from commercial vessels while out at sea. The defendant's actions further impeded and interfered with each of the monitors' ability to perform her job. There was a different at-sea monitor on each trip and each was the only female on board the boat for her respective trip.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Logan Gregory, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Law Enforcement made the announcement Friday. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nadine Pellegrini, Stacy Dawson Belf and Suzanne Sullivan of Ortiz's Major Crime's Unit..


Christina Diiorio-Sterling
U.S. Department of Justice