A woman who was storing hundreds of bags of asbestos material in two self-storage lockers in Lynnfield, Massachusetts claims that the conversation she had with a local environmental police lieutenant about the incident shouldn’t be used against her because she wasn’t thinking straight and was upset about other things happening at that time.
According to an article in the Salem News, Julie Rosati – co-owner of AEI Environmental – claims no one from the attorney general’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force contacted her when they began investigating the lockers in a facility on Route 1. So, she was surprised when approached by Lt. Gail Larson of the Environmental Police, and she begin to spill the beans about the asbestos violations committed by her company. Now, she wants that conversation stricken from the record, she and her attorney told the judge for her case.
Rosati’s attorney claims that the woman was distraught while talking with Larson, upset at the fact that investigators would be rummaging through the belongings of her late mother, which were stored right beside large bags of asbestos debris. The situation rendered her unable to make rational decisions about speaking to investigators, Rosati claims.
Rosati’s company had been charged with the task of asbestos abatement at many local sites, and the contaminated debris wound up in the storage lockers instead of being disposed of in the proper manner. Local environmental officials say she knew what she was doing.
“She knew it was not the appropriate way to store asbestos,” Larson testified. “They didn’t have the money to pay for proper disposal.” Larson says Rosati went on to tell her that the company’s certificates for asbestos removal had lapsed and that non-paying customers had caused the need to dispose of the asbestos in this manner rather than at an improved landfill.
“No, I didn’t tell her there was asbestos in the storage locker,” Rosati testified earlier this week. “You want me to tell you exactly what I said? You want me to repeat a conversation verbatim from two years ago?” she added, reminding the prosecuting attorney that the incident occurred in September 2010, too long ago for her to recall the conversation.
Prosecutors claim that Rosati was never under duress and challenge the notion that she should have been read the Miranda Rights because, at that time, she wasn’t under arrest, even though she was wanted on a warrant for driving offenses.
Old asbestos debris that is improperly stored or disposed of can result in asbestos fibers escaping into the air, where they can be easily inhaled. Once asbestos becomes lodged in the lung area, it can cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma cancer. That’s why states and municipalities have strict laws governing asbestos handling. Rosati faces penalties for breaking these laws, including potential jail time and steep fines.