D.A. reports Field Club acknowledges responsibility in drowning of toddler in their pool

EDGARTOWN – Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe announced today that Boathouse Club, LLC of 16 Field Club Lane, Edgartown, acknowledged responsibility and entered a plea of guilty to the criminal charge of Involuntary Manslaughter MGL chapter 265, section 13 in Dukes County Superior Court in connection with the 2021 drowning death of Henry Bowman Backer, date of birth: 9/12/2017.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Henry drowned in the Field Club pool on July 26, 2021 while attending a “Kids Camp” that was conducted at the Field Club in Edgartown run by the Boathouse Club, LLC.

After the manager of the Field Club entered a guilty plea on behalf of the corporation the Honorable Judge Mark C. Gildea accepted the joint recommendation and sentenced the Boathouse Club, LLC to 5 years probation on the indictment for Involuntary Manslaughter. As a condition of probation, the corporation agreed to not host a camp or club with water activities for children under the age of 6.

The corporation was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $100,000.00, which will be transferred to the Red Cross to establish the Henry Bowman Backer Water Safety Training Fund. The fund will provide lifeguard and water safety instructor training on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod.

District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said, “the criminal justice system is inadequate to deal with the pain and anguish of the loss of a child, but it can bring a measure of justice. I hope it has done so for Henry.”

The case was prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney Michael Trudeau and Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Sweeney. The case was investigated by Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office.

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