Sunday, May 12, 2013

Father Gordon MacRae: Hope in a case of apparent grave injustice

Wall Street Journal    [...] That a great many of the accusations against the priests were amply documented, that they involved the crimes of true predators all too often hidden or ignored, no one can doubt.

Neither should anyone doubt the ripe opportunities there were for fraudulent abuse claims filed in the hope of a large payoff. Busy civil attorneys—working on behalf of clients suddenly alive to the possibilities of a molestation claim, or open to suggestions that they remembered having been molested—could and did reap handsome rewards for themselves and their clients. The Diocese of Manchester, where Father MacRae had served, had by 2004 paid out $22,210,400 in settlements to those who had accused its priests of abuse. 

The paydays did not come without effort. Thomas Grover—a man with a long record of violence, theft and drug offenses on whose claims the state built its case against Father MacRae—would receive direction for his testimony at the criminal trial. A conviction at the priest's criminal trial would be a crucial determinant of success—that is, of the potential for reward—in Mr. Grover's planned civil suit. [....]

A New Hampshire superior court will shortly deliver its decision on a habeas corpus petition seeking Father MacRae's immediate release on grounds of newly discovered evidence. The petition was submitted by Robert Rosenthal, an appellate attorney with long experience in cases of this kind. In the event that the petition is rejected, Father MacRae's attorneys say they will appeal.

Those aware of the facts of this case find it hard to imagine that any court today would ignore the perversion of justice it represents. Some who had been witnesses or otherwise involved still maintain vivid memories of the process. 

Debra Collett, the former clinical director at Derby Lodge, a rehabilitation center that Mr. Grover had attended in 1987, said in a signed statement for Father MacRae's current legal team that she had been subject to "coercion and intimidation, veiled and more forward threats" during the police investigation because "they could not get me to say what they wanted to hear." Namely, that Mr. Grover had complained to her of molestation by Father MacRae. He had not—though he had accused many others, as she would point out. Thomas Grover, she said, had claimed to have been molested by so many people that the staff wondered whether "he was going for some sexual abuse victim world record." [...]

1 comment:

  1. This does sound like a case of prosecutorial misconduct. Sadly there have been too many of those. But also, I am not aware yet of one case of an ultra orthodox jew convicted unjustifiably on testimony from an orthodox victim. however in Brooklyn, the man who helped bring forward witnesses against abusers has been in limbo of indictment for extortion for about two years. I am referring to Samuel Kellner. We are dealing with a corrupt DA beholden to haredi askanim since the winner of the primary wins the election in democratic brooklyn and haredim can deliver a large block of votes. Some of the other worst cases of misconduct (where there were no grubbing liability lawyers involved)were cases where chasidim were murdered and the DA framed innocent men as the murders to placate the community. David Ranta was just released from jail, exonerated after serving 23 years for the murder of Chatzkel Werzberger, the shammas of the Satmar Rebbe. Jabar Collins was exonerated after serving 18 years for the murder of Rabbi Pollock, as Satmar Hasid in Williamsburg. I know people in touch with Mr. Collins, who is a mensch and does not blame the Hasidic community but the DA, the extremely corrupt Charles J Hynes.


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