• Ex-Army Ranger sentenced for unprovoked assault on Falmouth USAF Airman


    BOSTON - A former Army ranger has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting a Falmouth airman at a bar in Alaska.

    It's been more than a year since Nicholas Brett, an ex-Army ranger, violently assaulted Seth Duggan, an airman from Cape Cod, in an unprovoked attack.

    Boston 25 News spoke to Duggan's parents shortly after the attack happened, and today they say that while the trial of their son's assailant has brought them closure, the justice system itself failed their family.

    Last week, Brett plead guilty to third degree assault. Seth and his parents Karen and Michael Duggan sat in court as surveillance footage of the attack was played.

    "It's been very draining mentally, emotionally - it's just been very hard on us," said Michael. "It's the worst year of our lives."

    After the attack, Seth was left with significant injuries that have limited his life and can no longer serve the country he loved in the Air Force. The Duggans say Seth's skull was fractured in three places. Even a month later, he battled memory and hearing loss.

    Seth is headed to a traumatic brain injury unit on the West Coast as he continues to battle the lasting effects of his injuries.

    "He's got a long road ahead of him, we saw the MRI report - he's lost part of the frontal lobe of his brain, so he's got a lot of challenges ahead of him," said Karen. "We can clearly see his daily challenges in so many different areas of his life." 

    At the time, Seth was stationed at the joint base in Anchorage where he was serving as flight crew chief.

    "I feel like I could burst into tears," said Karen. "It was really hard to see."

    The judge sentenced Brett to four years in prison with three years suspended. However, Karen and Michael said that, with the time Brett has served while awaiting trial and the prison capacities in Alaska, he may never end up seeing the inside of a cell.

    "It is disheartening, I'm disgusted with what happened in court," said Michael.

    The Duggans say that, despite everything that has happened, they won't stop advocating for their son or seeking the healing he needs.

    "The closure is now there, we can focus on Seth, his health and his future," said Michael Duggan.

    MORE: 'Worst nightmare': Falmouth airman struggling to recover after brutal assault

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