Baden get 10 years for Burton fire
By Deborah A. Levinson
Steven H. Baden '92 was sentenced last week to 10 years
in prison with a concurrent suspended sentence of six to 10 years. Judge Paul A. Chernoff
of Middlesex County Superior Court handed down the sentence on Aug. 21 in connection with Baden's June conviction on charges of burning a dwelling and armed assault with intent to murder.
Baden will be eligible for parole after one year and will have access to psychiatric counseling and therapy while incarcerated. Baden is now serving the 10-year sentence for armed assault at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI) at Concord, and if necessary, will complete the suspended sentence for burning a dwelling at MCI-Cedar Junction.
Baden pleaded guilty to both charges on June 7. The charges stemmed from a fire he set on Jan. 18 in the Burton-Conner "kosher suite." Baden apparently set the fire as the "culmination of a dispute of long standing with another resident of the suite," Assistant District Attorney
Joe Quinlan told The Tech in January.
Neither defense attorney Eric Levine nor Assistant District Attorney Crispin Birnbaum, who prosecuted the case, had any com
ment on the sentencing. Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin also declined to comment.
Head of Student Assistance Services Robert M. Randolph said, "It's a very serious sentence, a very strong sentence." Randolph added that "one of the conditions of Baden's parole is that he is forbidden contact with the people involved and other people from MIT."
Randolph said that MIT offered counseling to the students who resided in the suite at the time of the fire. "They're special by virtue of their experience. We responded to that. We have provided what they have requested."
Baden, though currently suspended from MIT, remains a student. Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey said that official MIT action against Baden would probably take place "sometime after the beginning of the semester."
In cases where a student is convicted of crimes as serious as Baden's, Tewhey said that there are "two different routes" open to the Committee on Discipline. "The COD or the Dean of Students' Office can make a recommendation to the president," Tewhey said. The other option is a full set of COD hearings.
"Which route we choose will be determined after [Dean for Student Affairs Arthur C.] Smith, myself, and the COD chair [Sheila E. Widnall '60] sit down and decide."
Tewhey was not optimistic about Baden's chances for return. "I would say that those chances are nil," he said.