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By Neal Simpson
The Patriot Ledger
Posted June 13, 2018
Updated June 14, 2018
BOSTON – The state Appeals Court has upheld the civil commitment of a former Duxbury man who has spent more than two decades behind bars for raping and molesting a half-dozen South Shore boys in the 1990s.
Lucas Ortiz, better known locally as Michael P. Nickerson, had argued in his appeal that a judge was wrong to exclude evidence during a trial six years ago that led to his commitment as a sexually dangerous person under a state law that allows for the indefinite detention of convicted sex offenders who are deemed unable to control their sexual impulses.
In a decision issued Tuesday, the state Appeals Court ruled that the judge had the discretion to exclude the evidence, which included the results of a sexual arousal test, because the test has not been standardized and its results had been found to be unreliable.
Oritiz grew up in Duxbury with the name Michael Nickerson but is referred to only as Lucas Ortiz in Tuesday’s decision. His entry in the state’s sex offender registry uses both names.
Ortiz, now 43, was 17 years old and a senior at Duxbury High School when he was arrested in 1992 and charged with raping or molesting four Boy Scouts between the ages of 11 and 13, in one case at knifepoint.
In some of the assaults, which took place in Hingham, Pembroke, Duxbury and Brockton, prosecutors said, Ortiz told the boys that he had a son who had been kidnapped and would only be released if they had sex with him.
While out on $20,000 bail, Ortiz sexually assaulted a fifth boy, this one 12, by claiming he had to conduct a physical exam on the boy before he could join a gang.
Ortiz was convicted in both cases and sentenced to three years in prison, much to the outrage of the boys’ parents and state lawmakers, including some who called for stricter penalties for child sexual abuse.
Ortiz was released in 1995 – six months early – but was only free for months before he was arrested and returned to prison for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy at knifepoint. This time, Ortiz would spend another 18 years behind bars.
Then in 2012, with Ortiz due to be released, prosecutors filed a petition to have him committed indefinitely in a state hospital as a sexually dangerous person.
Two experts who examined Ortiz concluded that he was likely to commit additional sexual crimes, diagnosing him with pedophilia and other sexual and personality disorders.
Two experts hired by Ortiz concluded that he could not be diagnosed with a mental illness.
One of Ortiz’s experts based his conclusion in part on a test that measures a man’s sexual arousal in response to various images, which in this case purported to show that Ortiz was not aroused by children.
But the judge overseeing the trial barred Ortiz’s attorneys from presenting the test results, noting that the expert himself admitted that the test was frequently unreliable and often produced false negatives for rapists.
The Appeals Court on Tuesday agreed with the judge’s conclusion and upheld Ortiz’s continued detention.