|Child Rapist's Choice of Residence Worries Police
By Clynton Namuo
New Hampshire Union Leader
March 25, 2009
MIDDLETON – A former priest who spent more than four years in a Massachusetts prison for raping an altar boy is trying to move back to his lakeside cabin here, raising concern among residents and town officials alike.
Robert V. Gale, 67, was paroled earlier this month and is living in Everett, Mass., just north of Boston, according to that state's sex offender registry. He recently applied to move back to his cabin at 100 Lakeshore Drive on Middleton's Sunrise Lake, where he was arrested in 2002 on charges of child rape.
Gale pleaded guilty in December 2004 to four counts of child rape for repeatedly molesting an altar boy at St. Jude Church in Waltham, Mass. during the early 1980s.
Police Chief Randy Sobel said yesterday he learned of Gale's intention to move to Middleton Monday afternoon and is already concerned because his camp is located near a shared beach popular with children.
"I imagine part of his conditions would be no contact with children," Sobel said. "It'd be tough to do that living there, especially in the summertime."
New Hampshire Department of Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons confirmed parole officials on Friday received a request from Massachusetts authorities to move Gale's parole here, but he could not say where Gale plans to live because the application is confidential.
Parole officials have 45 days to review the request before making a decision.
"If it's a sex offender, I'd expect there'd be some level of intense supervision," Lyons said, noting that living too close to too many children could be a disqualifying factor.
Lyons added: "If we say no, Massachusetts will have to decide what to do next."
Sobel said he was told Middleton is the only place in New Hampshire Gale is considering. Gale also has family in Manchester.
Although Gale's move north is by no means a done deal, residents are already up in arms.
"I don't know how he could face the people around here," said Joann Bormann, who lives near Gale's cabin and knew him prior to his arrest. "He should be ashamed of himself."
Frankie Porfido, another neighbor, said he was stunned Gale wasn't incarcerated longer and hopes he won't come back.
"There's a lot of kids here during the summer and that's what you have to worry about," he said.
Porfido said Gale used to hold Mass at the shared beach near his house before he was arrested.
"He held Mass right there on the beach for years," he said.
Some were less critical.
Neighbor Mike Chaput said he's OK with Gale moving back, as long as he minds his own business.
"If he stays over there and keeps to himself, it doesn't bother me," he said.
Local residents have little say in whether Gale is allowed to move back.
Lyons, the Department of Corrections spokesman, said officials will see where Gale plans to move, what is nearby and also speak with anyone he may be living with as part of the review process.
"It's essentially an internal investigation," he said.
Gale's home is several lots away from a beach shared by the Sunrise Lake Lands Association, a group comprised of dozens of residents from around the lake. An e-mail to the association was not returned yesterday.
Upon Gale's release this month, a Massachusetts judge set up several conditions for his parole, including that he can't have unsupervised contact with or work with children under 16, and that he get sex offender treatment if deemed necessary.
"At this time, he is in compliance," Massachusetts Commissioner of Probation spokeswoman Coria Holland said yesterday.
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