Rev. Cote Files Remain Secret, at Least for Now

Union Leader News
March 4, 2003

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Files on Rev. Roland P. Cote, who resigned in November, 2002 from his Jaffrey parish, were kept from the public yesterday under a temporary court order.

The files were scheduled to be released along with other church documents yesterday morning by the Attorney General’s Office.

Merrimack County Superior Court Justice Kathleen McGuire is expected to rule this week on whether any of the Cote file should remain secret.

Cote’s attorney, Michael Connolly, argued that Cote, 57, was not charged with any criminal conduct in connection with his affair with a teenage boy. The alleged victim’s age at the time of the affair was never firmly determined.

Connolly said Cote’s voluntary statements to investigators should be treated with the same secrecy as grand jury testimony, where details are discussed to decide whether prosecution should be pursued.

But Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker pointed out that the press had openly reported on Cote’s case for months, and that his files were the subject of a right-to-know lawsuit in Hillsborough County last year. In fact, press clippings were part of the overall file that Delker planned to release yesterday.

Bishop John B. McCormack transferred Cote to St. Patrick Church in Jaffrey from a church in Nashua without telling his new parish of his past.


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