April 29, 2005

Writer takes up convicted priest's case

KEENE (NH)
Concord Monitor

By DANIEL BARRICK
Monitor staff

April 29. 2005 8:00AM

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Wall Street Journal said yesterday that Gordon MacRae, a New Hampshire priest convicted of child sexual assault a decade ago, is the victim of "a corruption of the justice system."

MacRae was convicted in 1994 of raping a 15-year-old boy at a Keene church. He later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three other boys. He is serving a 33- to 67-year sentence at the state prison.

In two articles that appeared on the newspaper's editorial page Wednesday and yesterday, Dorothy Rabinowitz, a member of the Journal's editorial board, contends that MacRae was wrongly convicted of the rape and bullied into signing false confessions. In an interview yesterday, Rabinowitz depicted MacRae as the victim of false accusations, overzealous law enforcement and church officials who put fear of bad press ahead of the welfare of their priests. Above all, Rabinowitz said, cases like MacRae's are driven by lawyers looking to make money.

"People have to come to understand that there is a large scam going on with personal injury attorneys, and what began as a serious effort has now expanded to become a huge money-making proposition,"Rabinowitz said. "These things have a life of their own. In a climate where there was a great wish to cleanse and punish priests, people were swept up; a judge was swept up."

Posted by kshaw at April 29, 2005 07:34 AM