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DA: Read this book and charges will be dropped

| Friday, Feb. 11, 2005

BOSTON -- A prosecutor has a deal for five teenagers arrested during the New England Patriots' Super Bowl parade: If they read a book that tells the story of drugs and desperation in a Boston neighborhood and write a report about it, he'll drop the charges.

The book Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley wants them to read is Michael Patrick MacDonald's memoir "All Souls," about growing up in South Boston projects. The youngsters must write a 2,500 word essay about the book.

"I want them to know that their behavior -- the disrespect, the rowdiness, the foolishness -- leads to other problems in life," Conley said. "When you read a book like "All Souls," you understand there are many choices in life, and poor choices can lead to a life of misery. They should appreciate the Patriots for their success, but they shouldn't act like fools when they come to the city."

In addition to the book report, the teenagers must attend two meetings with probation officers and stay out of further trouble, Conley spokesman David Procopio said.

Three of the boys were arrested and accused of throwing snowballs and bottles. A 15-year-old boy allegedly hit other people at the parade with a can of silly string. The 16-year-old girl was accused of indecent exposure.

About 1 million fans converged on downtown Boston to revel in the Patriots' third Super Bowl title in the past four seasons. A dozen of the 37 people arrested during the parade were juveniles, prosecutors said.

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