May 02, 2005

MacRae lobbied writer for years

Concord Monitor

Monitor staff

April 30. 2005 8:00AM

For years, Gordon MacRae wanted to tell his story. He got his wish this week, in the pages of one of the country's most respected newspapers.

In a pair of sympathetic columns in the Wall Street Journal, MacRae, who was convicted of child rape more than 10 years ago, is described as the victim of false accusations and aggressive law enforcement officials. People in New Hampshire familiar with MacRae's case call the Journal's portrait slanted and inaccurate. While it's unclear whether the articles could ultimately lead to freedom for MacRae, they represent the fulfillment of a campaign by inmate and reporter to tell a story that's obsessed both of them for years.

"Five years ago, this germ was planted in my head that said 'something is going on here,' and it was firmly planted - it's been fermenting all that time," Dorothy Rabinowitz, the Journal editorial page writer, said in an interview yesterday. "There was never a single moment I thought that this was not worth pursuing."

MacRae, a suspended Roman Catholic priest, has been in New Hampshire State Prison since 1994, convicted of raping a 15-year-old boy. In the years after his conviction, MacRae's appeal to the state Supreme Court and counter-suits against his accusers hit dead ends. Through it all, MacRae maintained his innocence, even as he pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges involving three other adolescent boys. Officials from the Diocese of Manchester were wary about pursuing further appeals on MacRae's behalf, a stance that bothered him.

So in 2000, when he was contacted by a Wall Street Journal reporter known for her work on wrongful sex abuse convictions, MacRae had good reason to take note.

Posted by kshaw at May 2, 2005 07:01 AM