A New England white woman has pleaded guilty to assault charges associated with a “run-in” with three Black women and their five children during the summer of 2020. She also admitted to violating their civil rights and has been sentenced to probation and community service for her actions.
On July 28, 2020, Rhonda Wozniak hurled racial slurs at the party of eight right before terrorizing them with her motor vehicle.
The 61-year-old Lynn, Massachusetts native rode her car toward the group as they stood outside of a Swampscott cookie shop called the Cookie Monstah in the Vinnin Square parking lot. The women were returning to their cars with their children, all ranging from five to 12.
Prosecutor Jenn Capone said in her presentation to the court that the woman “came speeding toward them in her motor vehicle, nearly hitting them … and told them to go back where they belong,” as one of the mothers asked her to slow down.
After the incident, the woman drove off and had to be identified by her license plate. Several surveillance cameras from stores within the complex and cell phone footage recorded by one of the victims assisted local law enforcement officers in identifying the perpetrator.
On Sept. 30, 2020, Wozniak pleaded not guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and eight counts of civil rights violation during an arraignment proceeding in Lynn District Court. The Honorable Judge Cesar Achilla gave her a $1,000 bail and ordered her to keep her distance from those involved in the case.
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, the official leading the case, further noted that “the defendant’s actions were harmful and offensive, not only to the victims but also to the community at large.”
Over a year later, Wozniak has pleaded guilty to eight counts each of assault with a dangerous weapon (her vehicle) and civil rights violations.
Wozniak’s attorneys, Doug Ryan and Joe Simons, said that their client wanted to take a deal. In a statement they shared that despite their office preparing for a trial, their client “ultimately decided to plead guilty, and in exchange was sentenced to probation.”
Lynn District Court Judge Jean Curran sentenced the woman to nine months of probation and 40 hours of community service for her actions. Her sentence was lighter than the prosecution’s suggestion.
Capone wanted a longer term of one year of probation for Wozniak, with 100 hours of community service.
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