BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — BEVERLY â€” A Beverly man will spend the next two years on probation after admitting that he tried to unzip the pants of a college student who was going door-to-door for the organization MassPIRG last year.
Daniel Keating's lawyer said Keating, 52, is "terribly embarrassed and remorseful" about the June 15, 2011, incident inside his 25 Swan St. home.
The student, a summer employee of the organization, was soliciting donations and other support for bottle bill reform. Keating invited him into his kitchen, where Keating filled out a postcard to be sent to the Statehouse and the student began explaining where Keating's $100 donation would go.
The student, 19, told police that as he stood near the kitchen table, where Keating was sitting, Keating suddenly reached up and touched his belt buckle, then put his hand on the zipper of the student's pants and tried to unzip them.
"What are you doing?" the student said he yelled. Keating responded, "What does my $100 get me?"
The stunned student yelled "membership," then fled the home and called his MassPIRG supervisor, who told him to go to the police, according to a police report.
Keating's case was set to go to trial yesterday in Salem District Court when his attorney, William Delaney, and prosecutor Patrick Collins reached an agreement.
Keating's case was continued without a finding for two years, during which he will be on supervised probation, with conditions that include a mental health evaluation and treatment and $467 restitution.
The restitution is reimbursement to the student for rent he had paid on an apartment he was sharing for the summer, because after the incident, he decided to move back home with his parents.
If Keating stays out of trouble and complies with the conditions set by Judge Michael Lauranzano yesterday, the charge of indecent assault and battery will be dismissed and Keating will not have to register as a sex offender.
However, if he fails on probation, a "guilty" finding could be entered in the case, opening up the requirement for registration as a sex offender, as well as other potential consequences.
Collins told the judge that the plea agreement came after extensive discussion with the victim, who was on board with the proposed outcome, and was also in consideration of Keating's lack of any other criminal history.
Delaney, Keating's attorney, called the incident "an aberration."
Keating, he said, works full time, owns his home and cares for an elderly parent, and is also currently busy running a parking lot near the Topsfield Fair. "I don't think you'll see him here again," Delaney told the judge.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.