Prosecutor in Maguire Case Wants More Testimony

By Riley Yates
Union Leader (Manchester NH)
June 6, 2003

DOVER — Prosecutors in the case of Joseph T. Maguire, the former Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting three altar boys, argued yesterday the court should allow testimony of seven others who also claim abuse, saying their stories corroborate key details.

In addition, prosecutors submitted a motion to try the three separate indictments against Maguire in one trial.

Maguire, 72, was indicted in February in Strafford County Superior Court with 34 counts of sexual assault he allegedly committed against two boys from the mid-1970s to early 1980s while he served at St. Joseph's Parish in Dover.

Maguire was indicted in May on two further counts involving another altar boy in his former Dover parish. Last week, Maguire waived an arraignment and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

N. William Delker, the chief of the state's criminal justice bureau, told judge Peter H. Fauver yesterday that testimony from the seven not included in the indictments would help demonstrate Maguire's "signature" pattern of abuse, backing charges that are more difficult to prove now that over 20 years has passed.

Delker said eight of the 10 victims spoke in interviews of a hand-held vibrator that Maguire would use during assaults.

"In each case they named that," Delker said. "The fact that each victim described this approach is highly probative that these acts occurred."

Each of the alleged victims, all of whom were altar boys, also independently said Maguire would bribe them with gifts such as video games, Delker said. All 10 further accused Maguire of using his position of trust as a priest and spiritual leader to gain access to them, he said.

Defense attorney Christopher Carter argued that allowing the testimony in an upcoming trial or trials would result in a "circus" in which Maguire must defend himself against accusations of sexually abusing each of the alleged victims, not just the three boys he stands indicted for.

"It is difficult to conceive of more prejudicial evidence," Carter said. "(It would) render it impossible for the jury to look at the evidence in a fair and impartial manner."

Carter said after the hearing he has not decided how to respond to the prosecutor's motion to join the cases.

Maguire was arrested in February in his apartment in Dennis, Mass., following a statewide investigation last year into whether the Diocese of Manchester failed to protect children from dangerous priests.

When earlier investigated by the Dover Police Department in 1986, Maguire had confessed to molesting four boys since becoming a priest in 1973. No action was taken, however, because police believed the six-year statute of limitations had expired.

Prosecutors now contend the clock on the statue of limitations stopped when Maguire left the state in 1981, a determination Carter has said he will fight.

Maguire is being held at the Strafford County House of Corrections in Dover in lieu of $50,000 bail. If convicted, he faces over 215 years in prison.


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