Vessel Operators Sentenced for Drowning Death

Monday, September 13, 2004
Two men were sentenced in federal court in Boston on manslaughter charges stemming from the drowning death of a visiting Irish student that occurred in the summer of 2001.

United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Rear Admiral Vivian Crea, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard First District; Michael D. O'Keefe, Cape & Islands District Attorney; Colonel Thomas G. Robbins, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; John J. Finnegan, Chief of the Barnstable Police Department; and Kenneth W. Kaiser, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that JOSEPH JAY SHORE, age 65, of 1418 Commonwealth Avenue, West Newton, Massachusetts, and his son, CORD MITCHELL SHORE, age 39, of 180 Scudder Avenue, Hyannis, Massachusetts, were both sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel to 3 years of probation, the first 6 months of which are to be served in home detention with electronic monitoring; despite the Government's recommendation of a 4 month term of imprisonment for JOSEPH SHORE and a 6 month term of imprisonment for CORD SHORE. Judge Zobel also ordered that each defendant pay a $10,000 fine.

The pair pleaded guilty on June 10, 2004, to an indictment charging them with negligently causing the drowning death of Catherine Kinsella in the summer of 2001. Ms. Kinsella, age 20, was an Irish national working on Cape Cod at the time. Both defendants were ordered to jointly pay restitution to the Kinsella family in the amount of $18,690 and to the family's insurance company in the amount of $21,602. "Although no amount of prison time could ever compensate for the senseless death of Catherine Kinsella or the unimaginable loss her family has suffered, I hope that they draw some comfort in knowing that law enforcement has done all in its power to hold accountable those responsible for Catherine's death," stated U.S. Attorney Sullivan. "I would like to again extend my sincere condolences and support to Catherine's family and friends."

"I also want to commend the diligent efforts of the numerous law enforcement agencies that worked together to bring this case to closure,"added Sullivan. "This cooperative effort began with a joint investigation at the local level between Barnstable Police and State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office," stated District Attorney O'Keefe. "It was soon augmented by Coast Guard investigators and the U.S. Attorney's Office. A Barnstable County Grand Jury was immediately convened to have witnesses from Ireland testify under oath before their departure for home. As the investigation progressed, the District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office mutually agreed that a federal venue was the appropriate one for the resolution of this tragic case. I hope that conclusion of this case brings some comfort and closure to the Kinsella family."

At the earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the evidence would have proven that JOSEPH SHORE, both as the Captain and the charterer of the vessel, the Sea Genie II, and his son, CORD SHORE, who worked as the First Mate, were responsible for the death of Catherine Kinsella on July 22, 2001. That night, the SHOREs set sail on the Sea Genie II after purchasing and providing beer, wine and liquor for largely under-age passengers. The number of passengers exceeded the vessel's licensed capacity with fewer than adequate life preservers. The Sea Genie II weighed anchor inside the Hyannis Port breakwater, but CORD SHORE failed to monitor the radar safely and was not aware as the boat drifted into a moored sailboat, causing the boat's starboard railing to break. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Kinsella fell overboard through the broken railing. The SHOREs undertook a search, but did not notify the U.S. Coast Guard for nearly 50 minutes, as the Sea Genie II ran in circles in the 58-degree water as passengers reportedly heard Ms. Kinsella cry out for help and CORD SHORE instructed several passengers to collect the beer cans on the boat. When the SHOREs finally radioed the U.S. Coast Guard, the Barnstable Police Department's boat patrol was contacted and responded to the scene.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Barnstable Police Department located Ms. Kinsella in short order, but she was not breathing, had no pulse and was never able to be resuscitated.

"One of the Coast Guard's most fundamental missions is to protect life at sea, a mission that we obviously take very seriously. This case illustrates that everyone who operates on the water needs to do the same," said Commander Steve Stancliff of the First Coast Guard District legal office. "Those mariners who needlessly imperil the innocent lives they are entrusted to safeguard must be held accountable." "To tragically lose a loved one is incomprehensible. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Catherine Kinsella," said Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Thomas Robbins. "We hope the sentences imposed today provide the Kinsella family with a feeling that justice has been served, and also hope that these sentences will provide a deterrent to similar events in the future."

He added, "The Massachusetts State Police will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement brethren to prevent tragedies such as this in the future." The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Barnstable Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working in coordination with the Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Schulman and Colin Owyang in Sullivan's Office.

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