Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Hampshire Priest Continues the Long Road to Clear His Name


CONCORD, N.H. — Imprisoned for 21 years after his conviction for crimes he adamantly denies he committed, Father Gordon MacRae says he is “cautiously hopeful” that the federal courts will give him a new opportunity to prove his innocence.

“I know that Supreme Court decisions and precedents have made it very difficult for innocent defendants to have a case re-heard at this level. Most people who judge the justice system by TV’s Law and Order don’t understand the steep uphill climb,” Father MacRae told the Register in an email message Tuesday, after his attorneys presented oral arguments on behalf of his habeus corpus appeal at U.S. district court in Concord, N.H.

Father MacRae, whose story is told on the These Stone Walls blog, has been incarcerated in the New Hampshire State Prison since his September 1994 conviction on one count of sexual assault and four counts of felonious sexual-assault charges. Now 62, Father MacRae was a parish priest in the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., when the alleged victim accused Father MacRae of molesting him several times when he was a 15-year-old boy in the early 1980s.

In court documents, Father MacRae’s attorneys argue that “newly discovered evidence,” which include allegations that the accuser concocted his story for financial gain, establishes Father MacRae’s “actual innocence.” His lawyers argue that innocence should override any time limits or procedural bars that prevent a new hearing of the case... (continued)


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