N.H. High School Teacher Continues to Fight Sex Law
Brother Shawn McEnany, 36, Was Convicted of Unlawful Sexual Contact 10 Years Ago in Maine
Associated Press, carried in Portland Press Herald (Maine)
January 10, 1998
A Bishop Guertin High School teacher continues to challenge state laws restricting people convicted of sex offenses.
Brother Shawn McEnany, 36, is accused of violating a state law that bars sex offenders from working with children and of failing to register with police.
McEnany waived formal arraignment Thursday in Hillsborough County Superior Court but continued to fight the charges.
A hearing on his motion to dismiss the charges, filed Wednesday by attorney Michael Dunn, will be scheduled after Assistant County Attorney Catherine Devine files her legal replies.
The case against McEnany stems from two misdemeanor convictions for unlawful sexual contact 10 years ago in Auburn, Maine. The charges involved a 15-year-old female pupil at St. Dominic Regional High School in Lewiston, where he taught at the time.
A more serious charge of gross sexual misconduct was dropped when McEnany pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors. He received a suspended jail term and a year's probation.
Bishop Guertin officials knew of McEnany's criminal record when they hired him in 1990. Brother Leo Labbe, the principal, has said he believes McEnany had learned from his mistake and poses no danger to pupils.
No complaints have arisen against McEnany during his seven years at Bishop Guertin. On the contrary, scores of pupils, graduates and parents have praised him.
McEnany and Labbe did not know of the 1989 state law barring people convicted of "any sexual assault" and various other crimes from working with children, the school's lawyers have said.
McEnany faces a class A felony charge, punishable by up to 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison, for teaching at Bishop Guertin after having been convicted in Maine. It is a class B felony for a person to withhold information on prior convictions when applying for employment.
He also is charged with failing to register with police as a convicted sex offender, a misdemeanor.
McEnany's motion to dismiss the charges follows the same arguments his lawyers made in a lawsuit filed last month in federal court, challenging constitutionality of the state laws. McEnany also asked the federal court to halt his prosecution until his challenge is resolved.
McEnany argues that Maine's unlawful sexual contact charge doesn't amount to a sexual assault charge in New Hampshire. He also argues New Hampshire's law is flawed.
"The Legislature in New Hampshire is attempting to do a laudable thing," but as written the law is oversimplified, Dunn said.
Besides being too broad, McEnany's lawyers argue, the law punishes retroactively.
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