Marty's Story

Martin Gottesfeld, 39, is a human rights advocate and senior systems engineer born and raised in Andover, Massachusetts.  He was arrested February 17, 2016, and prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by controversial Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.  Update–on June 9, 2023, Gottesfeld was transferred to home confinement.

Gottesfeld faced allegations that he conspired with members of the "hacktivist" group Anonymous in organizing an online sit-in of Boston Children's Hospital's public website.  At the time, an international campaign was underway to stop the torture of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier and save her life.

The video below shows Pelletier describing her expierience.

Gottesfeld faced a maximum of 15 years in prison and $380,000 in restitution to Pelletier's tormentors.  At trial, prosecutors failed to prove the moral core of their case against him, below.

Gottesfeld dedicated years of his life to fighting for the human rights of institutionalized children.  Often he spent eight hours at his job, came home, and spent another eight hours campaigning against child abuse.  He never profited from his activism.  He and his wife opened their guest bedroom to survivors of the "troubled teen industry," powerful and politically-connected for-profit businesses with an extremely well-documented record of atrocities against children.  That was before more than a dozen F.B.I. agents raided their home and took every computer he owned.

In 2018 holdover prosecutors from Ortiz's office failed to convince a jury that anything Gottesfeld did in defending Pelletier potentially affected the care of even a single patient anywhere.  That is because, quite simply, his defense of Pelletier's life posed no such risks.

In contrast, it's easy to see how Pelletier suffered while Gottesfeld's prosecutors did absolutely nothing to protect her.

The trial judges assigned to Gottesfeld's case were deeply connected to Boston Children's Hospital and its parent Harvard Medical School.

The Honorable Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, for instance, signed and sealed the search warrant for Gottesfeld's home and denied him bail.  She had started her career as a medical research assistant at Harvard Medical School.  She was also married to Marc Pfeffer, a Harvard cardiology professor and cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital.  The Brigham and Women's Hospital cardiology department touts its close ties to Boston Children's on its website.  Bowler was also director emerita of The Boston Foundation, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Boston Children's Hospital, and also raised money for the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, which detained Pelletier under the Boston Children's Hospital treatment plan when Pelletier's physical presence at the hospital proved too controversial for comfort.

Magistrate Bowler signed and sealed the warrant for Gottesfeld's home September 29, 2014.  The first page of the application for that warrant, however, was dated the following day, September 30, 2014.

Gottesfeld's trial judge was The Honorable Nathaniel M. Gorton.  At all relevant times Judge Gorton was a director of and shareholder in his family's for-profit business Slade Gorton & Co., Inc.  Slade Gorton & Co., Inc. donated to Boston Children's Hospital, which thanked Slade Gorton & Co., Inc. for its donations on the very same website that Gottesfeld allegedly took down.  During the Pelletier case, Boston Children's Hospital hid its donor lists to protect companies like Slade Gorton & Co., Inc. from economic and reputational harm from Boston Children's Hospital's handling of the case.

Also, both Judge Gorton and his brother Michael Gorton had served on boards at The New England Home for Little Wanderers.  Boston Children's Hospital gave that home a $50,000 direct grant in the years before Gottesfeld's case.  And B.C.H. and the home had partnered to divert juvenile psychiatric patients, like Pelletier, to outpatient settings.

During the trial but after jury selection, one of Gottesfeld's jurors self-identified as a former accountant for The New England Home for Little Wanderers.  She expressly told Judge Gorton she was worried about "a mistrial" due to her background.  Judge Gorton refused to excuse her from the case.  Then, when the jury had deadlocked for days, Judge Gorton repeatedly told the jury it could not acquit Gottesfeld due to his "good motive."  When prosecutors instructed the jury, "you must convict" Gottesfeld, Judge Gorton did not correct them.

Then, when a tearful juror came forward during deliberations, pleading not to convict Gottesfeld, and describing pressure from other jurors, Judge Gorton refused defense counsel's timely motion to inquire upon the jury as to whether undue pressure was being exerted during deliberations.

Neither Magistrate Bowler nor Judge Gorton recused themselves when defense counsel moved for new judges.

Once convicted solely of economic harm to organizations that left Pelletier wheelchair-bound for life, Judge Gorton sentenced Gottesfeld to 121 months in federal prison and over $400,000 in restitution to organizations financially connected to Judge Gorton himself or Magistrate Bowler.

Pelletier remains in a wheelchair, having been denied any official justice whatsoever for her trauma at Boston Children's Hospital.