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By Jack Minch


FITCHBURG — A Fitchburg District Court judge agreed Thursday to ease the pretrial probations for a trio charged with misleading a police investigation into the disappearance and death of five-year-old Jeremiah Oliver.

Caily Thibault and Ashley Cormier must report to the probation office in-person three times a week and once by telephone instead of in-person four days a week, Judge Andrew Mandell said.

Christian Sierra has a job in a warehouse that is closing and needs to work as many hours as possible while he can, said his attorney Pauline Cormier. As a result, instead of reporting to probation in-person four days a week, Mandell will allow Sierra to report in-person once a week and by telephone three times a week.

Mandell refused to lift the sanction against interstate travel and warned the defendants against violating terms of their pre-trial release.

“If there is a miss, a slip here, it’s likely your bail conditions will change dramatically,” Mandell told the three.

All three are charged with intimidation of a witness . The charge can include a variety of circumstances, including simply misleading police in the investigation, said Patrick Burke, the attorney for Thibault.

“My client is saying they didn’t do anything wrong,” Burke said during a break in the court hearing.

Thibault, Cormier and Sierra face possible indictment on perjury charges related to a police investigation of Jeremiah’s death which would move the case to Superior Court in Worcester.

“The commonwealth is likely going to indict this matter unless there is some kind of conversation between me and the defendants,” said Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Riddle. “The circumstances are only going to get worse.”

Police believe Sierra lied to the grand jury on Dec. 16 about making phone calls to his brother, Alberto Sierra, three days earlier.

Alberto Sierra is the boyfriend of Jeremiah’s mother, Elsa Oliver.

Alberto Sierra and Elsa Oliver were indicted in March on child-abuse charges. Jeremiah’s relatives last saw him Sept. 14, but he was not reported missing until December.

Cormier allegedly made several phone calls to Alberto Sierra while she was at Elsa Oliver’s arraignment on Dec. 13. Also, Cormier allegedly took a confrontational attitude toward state Department of Children and Families employees when they tried to visit Elsa Oliver on Dec. 13.

Thibault allegedly threatened Elsa Oliver with physical violence in order to make her go to district court on Dec. 13. While Thibault claimed he did not make any phone calls Dec. 13, video at Cumberland Farms in the Cleghorn neighborhood of Fitchburg shows her talking on a cell phone.

“Indictments are not a certainty,” Burke said.

He added, “They are not necessarily going to indict, they are just studying it a little further.”

Thibault, Cormier and Christian Sierra are scheduled to appear again in court with their attorneys on Aug. 15 to choose a trial by judge or jury.

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