Student gets break
Star Simpson must do 50 hours of service for disorderly conduct
The college student from Maui who caused a bomb scare at Boston's airport by wearing a blinking circuit board attached to her sweat shirt has been ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and write a letter of apology.
A judge in East Boston District court placed 20-year-old Star Simpson yesterday on one year of pretrial probation on a charge of disorderly conduct for the Sept. 21 incident at Logan International Airport. If Simpson completes the probation, the charge will be dismissed.
"She is extraordinarily happy that this event is over," her attorney, Thomas E. Dwyer Jr., said. "She apologized for causing this commotion at the airport."
Dwyer said Simpson, a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was waiting to meet her boyfriend in the baggage claim area and had no idea the blinking circuit board would be interpreted as a security threat.
Dwyer said instead of a formal plea to any crime, Simpson entered into a contract with the probation department to complete 50 hours of community service within a year.
Simpson originally was charged with possession of a hoax device, a felony, but prosecutors lowered that to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Dwyer said the court's decision will lead to a "total and absolute dismissal of all charges against my client."
"As I have stated since the inception of this case, Star Simpson was never guilty of possessing a fake bomb and never had the requisite intent to be found guilty of that crime," Dwyer said. "Having recommended the dismissal of the charge of possession of a hoax device, it is abundantly clear that the District Attorney's Office agreed with my opinion."
The Lahaina resident was arrested after airport security personnel became alarmed by the battery-powered device on her shirt. Simpson said she designed it as a piece of art.
In a written statement released by her attorney, Simpson said she wanted to apologize for the results of her conduct.
"Although I never intended to act in a disorderly fashion, I now realize that the shirt I created caused alarm and concern at Logan Airport," she said. "I am appreciative to the Massachusetts State Police for their diligence in protecting our citizens and apologize for the expense that was caused that day."
Dwyer said Simpson will be performing 25 hours of community service working with poor children in Cambridge and another 25 hours reading to patients at a hospital. He said Simpson was already doing volunteer work with poor children as part of an MIT program.
Dwyer said this fall, Simpson, who is studying electrical engineering, will be working in Guatemala to try to get electricity to some poor villages. He said the court case will have no impact on Simpson's MIT scholarship.
Simpson graduated from Hawaii Preparatory Academy in 2006 and was an outstanding high school scholar and athlete.
She was captain of the robotics team and captain of the swim team and won a medal in the state swim championships.
"We're very pleased this situation has been resolved so Star can move on with her very bright future," said Mark Noetzel, varsity swim coach and upper-school principal of Hawaii Preparatory Academy, which Simpson attended.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.