Joseph Balistreri: Somerville man sentenced for racially motivated assaults on MBTA employees

t assaulter

A Somerville man has been sentenced to jail after he admitted to harassing an MBTA employee.

Joseph Balistreri, 39, pleaded guilty Friday in Suffolk Superior Court to three counts of violation of a permanent injunction, two counts of threats and a count of criminal harassment, according to state Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

“Today’s sentence demonstrates that hate crimes will not be tolerated as we continue to work to protect the safety of our communities,” Coakley said in a press release sent out Friday.

In 2010, Balistreri was charged for a physical assault on two women after he shouted racial and homophobic slurs at them on an Orange Line train.

Despite an injunction prohibiting him from violating the civil rights of the assault victims – or anyone in the state – based upon their race or sexual orientation, in 2012, Balistreri threatened and harrassed an African-American MBTA employee at Sullivan Station based on her race.

Between 2012 and February 2013, Balistreri allegedly threatened a T employee and used racial epithets on multiple occasions when he was asked not to smoke in a non-smoking area.

According to Coakley, Balistreri threatened and threatened a T employee in March after punching a Charlie Card machine. The following week, Balistreri was seen taking photos of the MBTA employee, and when he was confronted he responded with racial epithets and said he and his friends would kill the T employee.

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