Priest Convicted of Sex Assault Plans Fresh Appeal

Manchester (NH) Union Leader
May 4, 2005

Priest convicted of sex assault plans fresh appeal of sexually assaulting a teenager plans another appeal of his long prison sentence.

Gordon MacRae pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three other boys after being convicted in 1994 of assaulting the first boy. He is serving a prison sentence of 33½ to 67 years and lost an earlier appeal to the state Supreme Court.

A pair of columns in The Wall Street Journal last week argued that MacRae was wrongly convicted, renewing interest in the case.

Ted Carey, a lawyer in a prominent Nashville, Tenn., law firm, said he began reviewing the case after MacRae wrote to him from prison last year. Carey said his planned appeal would focus on the length of MacRae's sentence and constitutional issues at his trial.

"In general, I think Father MacRae's sentence was too long for even what he was convicted of and-or pled guilty to," Carey told the Concord Monitor. "And I think there are some serious questions about the process that led to those convictions."

"My overriding objective is to try to secure his release from prison. I don't think he belongs there any longer, if he ever did."

Carey said he has advised MacRae, who has long maintained his innocence, not to talk to reporters.

Carey recently represented a group of Tennessee Medicaid recipients whose health insurance was at risk. He has defended priests accused of sexual assault and several death row inmates.

Dorothy Rabinowitz, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, wrote the two Wall Street Journal columns. Rabinowitz, who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2001, has written often about cases in which false accusations of sexual abuse led to imprisonment.

Rabinowitz argued that MacRae's accusers fabricated their stories to win cash settlements. She noted that several of his accusers went on to accuse other adults of abuse. And she charged the judge at MacRae's trial of withholding key information from the jury.

Carey, who is not being paid for representing MacRae, said Rabinowitz covered some of the issues he is interested in, but not all of them.

Law enforcement officials have dismissed Rabinowitz's arguments as biased.

"There's no new information there that wasn't known at the time," Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said last week.


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