Magno Pleads Not Guilty to 18 Counts

By Carolyn Kessel Stewart
Milford Daily News [Massachusetts]
February 9, 2006

CAMBRIDGE -- Allegations from at least 12 previous victims bolster the rape and indecent assault case against Maynard High School teacher Joseph Magno, said Assistant District Attorney Michael Chinman at Magno's arraignment yesterday.

Magno, 65, of Hudson pleaded not guilty in Middlesex Superior Court, and shook his head slightly in response to charges of 18 counts of rape and indecent assault relating to a single male student.

The prosecution warned there may be more charges to come for the teacher and well-liked community member known as "Mags."

"Allegations by this victim are corroborated by over a dozen prior victims," all of whom are former students and participants in the school radio and TV station run by Magno, said Chinman. "There is still a real possibility of additional charges."

Chinman called Magno untrustworthy and unlikely to return for his next court date.

Chinman said Magno "operates with deceit and lies," andread aloud a letter written by Magno in 2002 to the mother of the teenage boy he is accused of raping. Magno asked her to trust him with her son.

"I know you are concerned," the letter read. "Please do not worry."

Magno cited the priest sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and wrote "your son will always be safe in my presence...Parents have always put total trust in me."

Magno's attorney, Donald DeMayo, said the teacher has never had a problem with anyone in the community in the 42 years he has taught in Maynard. Magno has no criminal record, DeMayo said, and no one else is pressing charges.

"I see one accuser...I don't see any other accusers," DeMayo said.

Judge Peter M. Lauriate responded to DeMayo's arguments by reducing Magno's bail to $20,000 from the $50,000 cash bail set in Concord District Court.

Magno currently is being held by Middlesex Sheriff James DiPaola's office at an undisclosed facility. If Magno posts bail, he must wear a monitoring ankle bracelet, stay away from Maynard High School and Maynard High School students. He must not contact the victim or witnesses and have no contact with anyone under age 16.

Judge Lauriate barred lawyers for both sides from discussing the case with the media.

All charges stem from one alleged victim, now 17, who told police last month that he was raped from the eighth grade to his sophomore year, 2002 to 2004. The teenager told police he was raped in Magno's Rock Avenue home in Hudson as well as in Magno's car and on Maynard High School grounds.

The grand jury has indicted Magno on three counts of forcible rape of a child, nine counts of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14 and six counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.

Magno is on paid administrative leave from the high school pending administrative hearings. He is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing March 7.


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