Priest Facing N.H. Charges Claims False Accusations

Associated Press
December 22, 1993

A former Roman Catholic priest facing sexual assault charges in New Hampshire has filed lawsuits of his own, saying he was falsely accused in one case and libeled in another.

Gordon MacRae, 40, filed two lawsuits Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque. Earlier this month, a judge in New Hampshire rejected MacRae's motion to dismiss 17 sexual assault charges.

MacRae is charged with sexually assaulting three boys under age 14 in the early 1980s in Hampton and Keene, N.H. Two of the boys, now grown, have filed civil lawsuits. But MacRae claims they are more interested in money than proving any sexual abuse allegations.

"These allegations are not true but it's very difficult for a person in my position to defend myself against a person who says these things occurred 10 years ago," MacRae said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "These people stand to profit a great deal by making these allegations."

Albuquerque attorney Ron Koch, who is defending MacRae in the New Hampshire cases, said the lawsuits are a significant development in cases of alleged sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy.

"It's the first time I know of that a priest who has been accused of sexual abuse has fought back," Koch said. "There are some allegations out there that are absolutely ludicrous."

MacRae is representing himself in his lawsuits and has requested a jury trial. He is seeking compensatory damages and litigation costs.

MacRae's first lawsuit claims that one of his accusers and Concord, N.H., attorney Robert Upton II fabricated allegations of sexual abuse to make money from the Catholic church.

The second lawsuit accuses Keene police detective James F. McLaughlin of slander, libel and conducting a negligent investigation. It also accuses the Keene Police Department and the City of Keene of malicious prosecution, abuse of civil process and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Neither McLaughlin nor Upton could be reached for comment Wednesday.

MacRae pleaded guilty in 1988 to New Hampshire charges of endangering the welfare of a child, but now says he was pressured into the admission. He had a 14-year-old boy pose for nude photographs, according to court records.

MacRae was given a deferred prison sentence, two years of probation and ordered to check into the Servants of the Paraclete treatment center for priests at Jemez Springs, N.M.

MacRae said Wednesday that he voluntarily checked into the New Mexico treatment program and felt he had done something wrong.

"I showed incredibly bad judgment," he said.

MacRae currently is on leave from his job as a secular employee at the Servants of the Paraclete treatment center.


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