Defrocked Sex Offender Priest Denied Return to Middleton

By John Quinn
Foster's Daily Democrat
May 2, 2009

CONCORD Residents say they're relieved after learning the N.H. Department of Corrections denied a defrocked priest and convicted sex offender's request to return to the state after being released from prison.

Two residents contacted Foster's Thursday expressing relief upon learning the news Robert V. Gale, 67, won't be returning to town.

The state declined the discretionary request from Gale because he submitted "a flawed plan," according to Chris Callahan, assistant director of DOC field services.

"The primary reason we didn't accept this case was the primary residence is in close proximity to children," Callahan said.

Gale was arrested in 2002 at his property at 100 Lakeshore Drive in Middleton on a charge of being a fugitive from justice after he was indicted in Massachusetts on four counts of rape of a child between 1980 and 1984, when the boy was 10- to 14-years-old.

Lakeshore Drive is adjacent to Sunrise Lake, which is a popular vacation spot for families, especially in the summer.

Callahan said Gale can submit another plan through parole officials in Massachusetts, who would forward the plan to New Hampshire officials electronically through the Interstate Compact. He added the DOC would then refer the application to the appropriate local field office to investigate the matter.

"It is a sensitive issue and it can be a challenge for sex offenders," Callahan said, adding the state must treat all cases fairly.

Middleton Police Chief Randy Sobel previously said he is concerned that Gale, who was recently released from a Massachusetts prison and is currently living in Everett, Mass., wants to return to town since being released.

Gale is currently registered in Massachusetts as the highest-level sex offender, a designation for those considered to be most at risk of reoffending. As part of his probation, he must undergo evaluations and treatment if officials deem them necessary.

A civil suit claims that Gale, who was a priest at St. Joseph's Parish in Quincy, Mass., took a 12-year-old altar boy to a cabin at Camp Fatima in Barnstead and then to his sister's home in Manchester, where he was accused of raping him in 1979.

Gale was released from the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous after completing his 41?2 to 5-year sentence in April and a judge ordered him to move to New Hampshire to serve his 25-year probation.

If his application was accepted Gale would have been supervised by state probation and parole officers who would probably be able to search Gale's home or work at any time to ensure he's complying with the conditions of his release, officials have said.

According to the town's tax records, Gale still owns the property but it is being rented.



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