Judge Refuses to Toss Child Rape Charge
Former Priest Charged with Raping Altar Boy [Boston MA]
May 19, 2004

BOSTON -- A Middlesex Superior Court judge refused to throw out a child rape charge against a former Roman Catholic priest, saying a jury should decide whether or not he was indicted after the statute of limitations for his alleged crime had expired.

The Rev. Robert V. Gale was indicted in August on charges that he repeatedly raped an altar boy at St. Jude's parish in Waltham, Mass., between 1980 and 1984. The boy, who was between 10 and 14 years old at the time of the alleged crimes, was molested by Gale about twice a month, prosecutors have said.

Gale said the charges should be thrown out of court because they were filed after the 15-year statute of limitations for rape had expired.

But prosecutors said that Gale had moved to New Hampshire in the interim, and by moving out of state he had temporarily stopped the clock ticking on the statute of limitations.

Gale countered that he was just visiting his sister in New Hampshire, and was actually living in Boston.

Both the prosecution and defense argued their claims at a hearing in the fall, and Judge Sandra L. Hamlin ruled on Tuesday that they would have to do so again at Gale's upcoming trial on four counts of child rape.

The alleged victim's parents were "tremendously relieved" that the judge did not dismiss the case, a friend of the family told the Boston Globe.

"They're hoping that a jury will finally offer some justice for the family and the victim -- and for (Gale's) other victims," said the friend, Bonnie Gorman.

Gale and his attorney, Robert D. Lewin, refused comment after the hearing.

Gale was one of the priests accused of molestation in the thousands of pages of church documents made public last year. The Boston Archdiocese has spent more than $90 million on settlements with more than 550 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.


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