On The Record: What People Are Saying

These Stone Walls and the case of Father Gordon MacRae have been noticed by publications and individuals concerned for the state of due process, justice, and liberty in America.  Here are some of their comments:

October 26, 2013 – Carlos Caso-Rosendi, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Many of us in the so-called ‘Third World’ look up to the United States of America as a model of what the administration of justice should be. While it is true that the United States has managed better than other countries to balance the interplay of state powers, we must also admit that those virtues have been shadowed by grievous errors. Today I present the case of an innocent man, Fr. Gordon MacRae, who has spent the last twenty years in prison unjustly condemned in circumstances that would cause any Stalinist magistrate of the former Soviet Union to blush. The justice of New Hampshire found the priest guilty through a process no less infamous than those seen in the tribunals of any banana republic. . . in the midst of this extraordinary process, his brother priests who could have testified in his favor deserted him. Then his pastor, the Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, turned away from him . . . Barabbas is gone! Judas has received his thirty silver coins! Behold the man, Gordon MacRae! Bishops of the Church: what do we do with him?”

“Behold the Man!” www.casorosendi.com

August 14, 2013 – Tony Dixon, Australia: Vexilla Regis Blog

“Please pray for Father Gordon MacRae, a man of exemplary faith and charity and of considerable wisdom and writing ability. These Stone Walls [is] a feast of wonderful writing, and profound wisdom.” www.VexillaRegis.blogspot.com – “Convict Priest Gordon MacRae”

July 18, 2013 – Ryan A. MacDonald, New York: A Ram in the Thicket Blog

“The latest in a series of articles on the Father MacRae case by Wall Street Journal investigative writer, Dorothy Rabinowitz, drew international attention to this injustice. At WSJ.com, “The Trials of Father MacRae” (May 11, 2013) was the most viewed and most emailed article of that week. At last count, it generated over 52,000 links and was cited in whole or in part in hundreds of other venues.”

ARamintheThicket.blogspot.com: “In Fr Gordon MacRae Case, Whack-a-Mole Justice Holds Court”

May 26, 2013 – Fr. George Welzbacher, Pastor: St. Paul Minnesota

“The respected journalist and political commentator Dorothy Rabinowitz, a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board, can scarcely be thought to harbor partisan loyalty to the Catholic Church. It is rather her fundamental sense of justice that has prompted her to come to the defense of a Catholic priest who, from a sober examination of the relevant evidence, seems pretty clearly to have been ‘railroaded’ into what has become in effect a lifetime imprisonment….In an era when certain attorneys keen for the scent have built a career on litigation aimed at Catholic priests…Ms. Rabinowitz offers a timely corrective to the lynch-mob mentality [in] ‘The Trials of Father MacRae.’” 
www.stjstp.org – Pastor’s Page, Church of Saint John of St. Paul, MN

May 21, 2013 – David F. Pierre, Author of Catholic Priests Falsely Accused

“In a stunning article that bravely veers from the media’s usual, tired coverage of the Catholic Church abuse story, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dorothy Rabinowitz has taken up the case of Fr. Gordon MacRae. Rabinowitz’s article in The Wall Street Journal reports that MacRae was wrongfully convicted in a grave miscarriage of justice. TheMediaReport.com has thoroughly examined Fr. MacRae*s case.” 
TheMediaReport.com “Rev. Gordon MacRae New Hampshire in The Wall St. Journal”

May 16, 2013 – Cathy Caridi, JCL, Rome Italy: Canon Law Made Easy Blog

“If a worldwide contest were to be held to find an innocent priest who has been treated the most unjustly, it would be difficult to judge. But a top contender for this dubious distinction would undoubtedly be [Father] Gordon MacRae of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire…It appears that the Catholic Diocese of Manchester was more interested in avoiding lawsuits – which in this case would obviously have been entirely frivolous – than in defending one of their own priests.” CanonLawMadeEasy.blogspot.com – “Canon Law and False Abuse Allegations”

May 11, 2013 – Dorothy Rabinowitz, NY; Author of No Crueler Tyrannies

“The path that led inexorably to that conviction would have been familiar to witnesses of the manufactured sex-abuse prosecutions that swept the nation in the 1980s and early 1990s and left an extraordinary number of ruined lives in its wake. Here once more, in the MacRae case, was a set of charges built by a determined sex-abuse investigator and an atmosphere in which accusation was, in effect, all the proof required to bring a guilty verdict….Those aware of the facts of this case find it hard to imagine that any court today would ignore the perversion of justice it represents.” 
The Wall Street Journal – “Rabinowitz: The Trials of Father MacRae”

March 14, 2013 – Suzanne Sadler, Australia; Editor – These Stone Walls

“These Stone Walls is a finalist for the About.com Best Catholic Blog award….Back in May of 2009,I proposed that Father MacRae start a blog to alert faithful Catholics about the post-Dallas Charter witch hunt that has stripped many innocent priests of their reputation, social and economic support, shelter, liberty…and hope. What I didn’t know was that the late Avery Cardinal Dulles and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus [also] encouraged Father to write about this. Cardinal Dulles wrote in 2005: ‘Someday your story and that of your fellow sufferers will come to light and will be instrumental in a reform. Your writing, which is clear, eloquent, and spiritually sound, will be a monument to your trials.’”

February 22, 2013 – Fr. James Valladares, Ph.D., Australia: Author of Hope Springs Eternal in the Priestly Breast

“I wholeheartedly endorse the initiative to list These Stone Walls as a finalist for Best Catholic Blog at About.com. Fr. Gordon MacRae is an extraordinary priest, unflagging in his priestly commitment, unwavering in championing the truth, and unconditional in his pastoral outreach through this inspiring blog.”

TheseStoneWalls.com: e-mail letter

February 21, 2013 – Ryan A. MacDonald, New York; A Ram in the Thicket Blog

“These Stone Walls by Father Gordon MacRae is a finalist in About.com’s Readers Choice for Best Catholic Blog. It is not without precedent. In

2010, These Stone Walls was similarly honored by readers of Our Sunday Visitor as the Readers’ Choice for the Best of the Catholic Web. There is a good reason why people are noticing and reading this site. At this writing, it has shot up to Second Place…I can only imagine the hell to pay if These Stone Walls actually wins Best Catholic Blog at About.com. The Church might have to examine anew the sort of justice Catholics really expect when priests are falsely accused.”

ARamintheThicket.blogspot.com – “These Stone Walls is a Finalist for About.com’s Best Catholic Blog”

Fr. James Valladares, Ph.D.: Author – Hope Springs Eternal in the Priestly Breast (iUniverse 2012):

“Fr. Gordon MacRae . . . an extraordinarily heroic priest with indomitable courage, unrelenting tenacity, unwavering patience and Christ-like magnanimity, who personally and admirably reflects what Pope Benedict XVI has honestly and humbly confessed: ‘All of us are suffering as a result of the sins of our confreres who betrayed a sacred trust or failed to deal justly and responsibly with allegations of abuse.’ These Stone Walls will tear at the heartstrings of any person with a well-formed conscience and a passion for justice and truth.”

Acknowledgments and pp.237-238

Father George David Byers – Holy Souls Hermitage

“You are almost singlehandedly bringing the entire abuse crisis full circle. You are leading us to Christ Jesus. That ‘us’ includes bishops, priests, laity, and abuse victims. Even some of those providing false allegations are starting to be moved.”

Comment on TheseStoneWalls.com, April 25, 2012

Convert Journal – “Quick Takes Friday”

“Many innocent priests have suffered greatly, some imprisoned longer than guilty rapists and murderers. I wrote about Father Gordon MacRae’s sad case in February. Ryan MacDonald wrote about this for Catholic Lane. In ‘Why Do SNAP and VOTF Fear the Case of Fr. Gordon MacRae?’ he looks at how the media and victims rights groups treated Fr. MacRae when he was accused, and their silence now that strong exonerating evidence has emerged. Shameful.”

ConvertJournal.com, April 21, 2012

The One True Faith

“If you don’t follow the blog, These Stone Walls, you should.”

TheOneTrueFaith.blogspot.com, April 21, 2012

Anne Hendershott, Ph.D., Author: Beyond the Catholic Culture Wars

“Grateful for this website. This case is so horrible on so  many levels – our Church will not recover unless it confronts this case.”

Comment on These Stone Walls “About” Page, April 14, 2012

Father Michael Orsi, Ed.D. – Ave Maria School of Law

“A sure way to ameliorate the injustices perpetrated against priests and to rehabilitate the reputation of the Church would be to re-examine the cases of those priests found guilty due to false or dubious abuse claims filed against them. The widely reported case of Fr. Gordon MacRae of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire would be a good place to start. It is quite obvious that Fr. MacRae did not receive a fair trial … What a moral boost this would be for the nation’s priests and Catholic laity if the Church in New Hampshire began a petition drive to have this case reopened!”

Catalyst, “Bogus Charges Against Priests Abound,” March 7, 2012

Convert Journal – “Elsewhere: Throw Away the Key”

“In 1994 Father Gordon MacRae was sent to prison as a sex offender. These are terrible crimes and the sentence was 67 years. Justice has been served and fair restitution paid to the victim. There is just one problem. He is innocent. The injustice heaped upon Father Gordon MacRae and other falsely accused priests is beyond words. Read about this case. The more you know about the supposed ‘victim,’ the prosecution, and the background – the more outraged you will be.”

ConvertJournal.com, February 24, 2012

Dennis Collins: Ontario, Canada

“These Stone Walls is reaching countless people from all parts of the world not only with powerful words and messages, but presenting a truly lived witness of faith, hope, and humility. Not to diminish in any way the tremendous injustice and suffering Fr. MacRae has endured, These Stone Walls is a widely-heard voice calling for true justice for all and serving as a beacon of hope for many.”

TheseStoneWalls.com, January 4, 2012

David F. Pierre, Author and Host of the MediaReport.com

“With the help of outside supporters, an old typewriter, and the use of traditional postal mail, Fr. MacRae authors TheseStoneWalls.com from his small prison cell . . . not just as a forum to assert his innocence, but also as thoughtful spiritual and theological commentary. TheseStoneWalls.com is truly a compelling venue on the Internet.”

Catholic Priests Falsely Accused, p. 156, December 2011.

Father Carl – Falsely Accused and Exonerated Priest

“These Stone Walls has truly been an inspiration for me through my own valley of tears. I marvel not only at the depth and breadth of intelligence and deep spirituality found here, but its upbeat and encouraging tone.”

TheseStoneWalls.com, November 4, 2011

Father Cory Sticha – Great Falls, Montana
“These Stone Walls has not only brought the case of Father Gordon MacRae to light, but has made clear the plight of  all priests falsely accused. TSW has shown us great hope in the midst of darkness. I have learned much about the self-giving necessary to be a priest through these writings.”

TheseStoneWalls.com, September 23, 2011

Scott P. Richert, Catholicism Guide on About.com

“Fr. Gordon MacRae’s blog, These Stone Walls, is a timely reminder that, for Catholic priests today, the presumption of innocence is often nonexistent. Without minimizing the horrors of the scandal of clerical sexual abuse, Father MacRae reminds us that the putative victim is not always the real one.”

Scott P. Richert, About.com/Catholicism About.com  April 27,2011

Catholic Exchange:  “A Voice in the Wilderness”

“Sitting in his cell on an empty plastic bucket in front of an old Smith-Corona typewriter, Father MacRae has produced some remarkable writing about the scandal of the last decade, about the Church in Western culture, about fidelity, false witness, and prison itself… The amazing result is These Stone Walls, an eye-catching conscience-grabbing blog that is both riveting and spiritually uplifting.  This blog’s fidelity to the Church, and to the truth, has been deemed by many to be the finest example of priestly witness the last decade of scandal has produced.”
Catholic Exchange, February 14, 2011

2010 OSV Readers’ Choice for the Best of the Catholic Web

Our Sunday Visitor polled readers on www.osvdailytake.com for their favorite Catholic websites in four categories:

Spirituality, News and Resources, Opinion, and Community Building. These Stone Walls was voted one of the top twenty Catholic blogs in the Spirituality category. “His humility and clarity in sharing his faith goes a long way in helping to increase mine.” (OSV reader Teresa Eggers).

Our Sunday Visitor: “In Focus” (August 15, 2010)

Michael Brandon, “Freedom Through Truth”

World Priest Day – October 31, 2010:
“Those who have read this blog and the These Stone Walls blog Fr. Gordon writes will know of the case of this faithful priest, who now ministers in the New Hampshire State Prison where he is an inmate having been falsely charged and convicted of phantom child molestation during a money grab by litigants and failure to protect him by his own diocesan administration over 16 years ago.”

www.FreeThroughTruth.bloqspot.com (October 31, 2010)

David P. Pierre, Jr., Author of Double Standard

“God bless Father Gordon. While imparting a side of the abuse scandal that the major media refuses to provide, These Stone Walls is informative, thoughtful, and spiritually empowering. I wish everyone would visit These Stone Walls. One visit will make anyone reconsider all the one-sided hysteria we’ve heard in the media for the last two decades.”

Posted on These Stone Walls, October 20, 2010

Robert Hutchinson’s Blog

“Just as most sane people no longer believe the crazy accusations leveled against day care workers in the 1980s _ based on hypnosis-induced ‘recovered memories’ and coached testimony from four-year-olds – fair and honest people will be horrified by cases like that of Rev. Gordon MacRae, rotting in prison since 1994 for a crime he didn’t commit. The Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz has chronicled the sad tale of injustice and legal malfeasance that occurred in his case in detail.”

Robert Hutchinson.com/blogging (October 2, 2010)

Michael Brandon, “Freedom Through Truth”

An example of one living life in exile, St. Paul’s life in prison, where he considered all these trials joy, is best exemplified for me in modern society by Father Gordon MacRae, a guest of the State of New Hampshire in their state prison. I mentioned Father Gordon in my article the other day on priests who have touched my life. I have read his thoughtful blog, These Stone Walls, regularly, and have also researched some of the facts presented there about his case . . . Father MacRae was caught in a web of deceit . . . He is truly in
exile . . . His writing is poignant.”

www.FreeThroughTruth.bloqspot.com (September 3, 2010)

Ryan A. MacDonald in Our Sunday Visitor

“When one understands the role of the contingent-fee bar in sexual abuse litigation, it becomes a virtual certainty that some priests have been falsely accused for money. One such  case was exposed by The Wall Street Journal in 2005 (Dorothy Rabinowitz, ‘A Priest’s Story,’ April 27/28,2005. The case  of Father Gordon MacRae is profiled in a remarkable website at www.TheseStoneWalls.com. This site was one of OSV’s 2010 Readers’ Choice for the ‘Best of the Catholic Web.’ To paraphrase a Gospel parable, this priest was beaten by robbers and left on the side of the road in our Church. A growing number of Catholics have become unwilling to pass him by.”

Our Sunday Visitor, “Perspectives” (August 29, 2010)

Greg Erlandson, Publisher of Our Sunday Visitor

“Fr. MacRae,

We haven’t been in touch for a while, but I wanted you to know that I’ve co-authored a book called “Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis,” which OSV published. We also have a blog on the abuse crisis as it pertains to the Pope. You have an excellent blog here. Keep up the good work.”

Ryan A. MacDonald in The Catholic World Report

“CWR readers would do well to visit a remarkable website located at   www.TheseStoneWalls.com. The site details one falsely accused priest’s ordeal in confronting fraud while calling for fidelity to the Church’s mission for real victims and for all concerned. Like many Catholics, I was angry about the abuse crisis until I learned the extent to which some of our priests have been subjected to fraud.”

The Catholic World Report (April 2010)

William Donohue, Ph.D., President of the Catholic League
“ ‘These Stone Walls’: Father Gordon J. MacRae is no stranger to the members of the Catholic League, but his blog site may need some introduction. MacRae, who convincingly maintains his innocence for a crime he did not commit, writes from a prison in Concord, New Hampshire. His blog can be found at www.TheseStoneWalls.com; pointedly, he subtitles his blog, ‘Musings from prison of a priest falsely accused.’  MacRae provides the reader with a wealth of information about Catholic issues, as well as material surrounding his ordeal. Bill Donohue continues. to correspond with him and encourages League members to visit his site.”

Catalyst:  The Catholic League Journal (March 2010)

Kathy Maxwell in Homiletic & Pastoral Review

“There are innocent priests in prison, railroaded by people with their eyes fixed upon money or political advantages. These men were abandoned by their bishops and most of their brothers. This shame continues. One such priest, Fr. Gordon MacRae, has spent the past fourteen years in prison because he refuses to admit he is guilty of something he didn’t do. His trial was a shameful travesty. Dorothy Rabinowitz, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and others have publicly defended him, to no avail. If you visit his website, www.GordonMacRae.com, you can read about Fr. MacRae and his experience as the sacrificial victim of our twenty-first century witch hunt.”

Homiletic and Pastoral Review (March 2010)

Charlene C. Duline, Author of Drinking From the Saucer

“I asked Fr. Gordon MacRae if he knew on June 5, 1982, the day he was ordained, what he knows now, would he have become a priest. To my surprise, he said, “Yes.” I shuddered. And yet, I should have known that is what he would say. Later that day I fumed. I was angry: angry at him because he was NOT angry. I was also angry at the people who took away his freedom. It takes a very holy man not to be angry, and that is exactly what Father Gordon is. Inmates flock to Fr. Gordon. I know this because several inmates who read my book now correspond with me. Fr. Gordon tries to keep peace in the prison and often acts as mediator between inmates and guards and inmates and each other, and not without risk to himself. He says, ‘I cannot do otherwise.’”

www.ProdigalCatholicWriter.blogspot.com,  Feb. 25, 2010

Richmond Voices

“These Stone Walls: If you have never visited this blog, you are in for a spiritual journey. These Stone Walls contains a weekly column written by a priest who was falsely accused. He is serving a 67-years sentence. You can read his story and what happened to him after refusing a deal to plead guilty. If you are looking for spiritual reading for Lent, this is it!”

www.RichmondVoices.blogspot.com, Feb. 24, 2010

Rev. Msgr. Michael Palud, J.C.D.

“I typed in Google, ‘For those falsely accused’ – and I came across the site of Father Gordon MacRae. Then I just read and read. I could not stop as I read the Passion of this man. Father Gordon is 55 years old. He was unjustly sent to prison in New Hampshire 14 years ago for a crime he did not commit. If you Google his name, you will see what he has gone through. In short, he is not only an “inmate,” a prisoner, but also a prisoner of the U.S. Justice System and the lame actions of some Churchmen. You might remember the famous ‘Rosenberg Trial’ from history during the Cold War? They were condemned. Well, something like that could be said of Father Gordon, condemned to six decades in prison. He is living the Passion of the Christ.”

www.JourneyofaYoungPriest.blogspot.com, Nov. 17, 2009

Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen, Bishop Emeritus of Amarillo, Texas

“I am pleased to be associated with These Stone Walls and the defense of Father Gordon MacRae whom I’ve known for twenty years. His blog post on Saint Padre Pio is among the finest tributes I have read. St. Padre Pio survived the victimization attempt of a jealous brother because Church authorities of his time presumed him to be innocent, as he proved to be. Sadly and tragically, that time-honored legal presumption has been turned on its head by current Church leaders who presume a priest accused of abuse is guilty. Left to defend himself, denied legal assistance and due canonical process, he disappears into the mist. Blessed are they who are found, nurtured, and loved. I call upon the Church to stand by Father Gordon MacRae in his dauntless effort to stand by the truth. It is my honor to be associated with this cause.”

Letter dated September 24, 2009

William Donohue, Ph.D., President of The Catholic League

“ ‘Help Father MacRae:’ In 2005, I was interviewed on the ‘Today Show’ about alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests. ‘There is no segment of the American population with less civil liberties protection than the average American Catholic priest,’ I said. I stand by that accusation, and I ask that every Catholic League member take a long look at what has happened to Father Gordon MacRae. The late Avery Cardinal Dulles, and the late Father Richard John Neuhaus, were not only staunch defenders of the rights of accused priests, they were openly concerned about the plight of Father MacRae. It was the two-part series on MacRae by The Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Dorothy Rabinowitz (April 27 and 28, 2005) that disturbed them the most. To read about Father MacRae’s incredible ordeal, please go to www.GordonMacRae.net. It most certainly has affected me. Those who would like to make a donation to his legal defense – which is ongoing – will find information on this website. It is being sponsored by the National Center for Reason and Justice. Go to the ‘Contact’ section for donation information.”

Catalyst: The Catholic League Journal (July/August 2009)

Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas in The Catholic Response

“I have followed the case of Father MacRae with interest, sympathy, and no small degree of indignation. All objective reviewers (including former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon) of the situation agree that he has suffered equally from ecclesiastical and civil injustices. And so, I want to encourage readers to help in any way they can… The  Web Site is www.GordonMacRae.net.  After its own investigation the Boston-based National Center for Reason and Justice, www.ncrj.org , has accepted fiscal sponsorship of Father MacRae’s defense. This is a steep and expensive uphill climb, and the sponsorship of the NCRJ has brought renewed hope to this effort. In this Year of the Priest, may St. John Vianney intercede for this poor priest.”

Editorial: The Catholic Response  (July 2009)

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus in First Things

“Among the many sad consequences of the sex abuse crisis are the injustices visited upon priests falsely accused. A particularly egregious case is that of Father Gordon MacRae of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire. He was sentenced to thirty-three years and has been imprisoned more than twelve years with no chance of parole because he insists he is innocent. I have followed the case for several years. Lawyer friends have closely examined the case and believe he was railroaded. The Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dorothy Rabinowitz published, on April 27 and 28, 2005, an account of the travesty of justice by which he was convicted.

Now the friends of Father MacRae have created a website, www.GordonMacRae.net, which provides a comprehensive narrative of the case, along with pertinent documentation. Bishop John McCormack, a former aide of Boston’s Cardinal Law, and the Diocese of Manchester do not come off as friends of justice or, for that matter, of elementary decency. You may want to visit the website and read this Kafkaesque tale. And then you may want to pray for Father MacRae, and for a Church and a justice system that seem indifferent to justice.  Financial help is also needed for his continuing appeals.”

Editorial: First Things Magazine  (July/August 2008)

Pamela Freyd, Ph.D., The False Memory Syndrome Foundation

“Although there is no doubt of the Catholic Church’s irresponsible handling of thousands of reports of clergy abuse, there are also a growing number of cases in which priests appear to have been wrongly convicted.  The case of Rev. Gordon MacRae, which was detailed by Dorothy Rabinowitz in 2005 in The Wall Street Journal, appears to be one of them.”

Editorial: FMSF Journal On-Line, Fall, 2008

Pornchai Moontri for The Catholic League

“By patience, and especially by example, [Father] Gordon helped me to change the course of my life… It is the strangest irony that he has been in prison for 13 years accused fictionally of the same behaviors visited upon me in the real world by the man who took me from Thailand. I read the articles about Gordon in The Wall Street Journal last year. I know him better, I think, than just about anyone. I know only too well the person who does what Gordon is wrongly accused of. Gordon is not that person. Far from it. It is hard for me to accept that laws and public sentiment allow men to demand and receive huge financial settlements from the Catholic Church years or decades after claimed abuse while all that happened to me has gone without even casual notice by anyone – except, ironically, [Father] Gordon MacRae.”

Conversion Story for 2008, The Catholic League  (Dec. 2007)

Cardinal Avery Dulles

Cardinal Avery Dulles encouraged Father MacRae to write
“Thank you for keeping us informed about the great scandal of the failure of the Church to support her priests in their time of need. Someday your story and that of your fellow sufferers will come to light and be instrumental in a reform. I am sure that in the plans of divine Providence your ministry of suffering is part of your priestly vocation, filling up for the Church ‘what is wanting in the sufferings of Christ.’  Your writing, which is clear, eloquent, and spiritually sound, will be a monument to your trials.

You are in a position to practice and to propose to others a spirituality for the imprisoned. God, as you say, cannot intend that your life be futile.  As I believe I have remarked before, much of the finest Christian literature comes from believers who were unjustly imprisoned, from Paul’s Captivity Epistles to the memoirs of Bonhoeffer and Delp. Somebody may wish to compose an anthology of such literature or even contribute another chapter to it.”

Letter dated July 14, 2006

Paul. R. McHugh, M.D., U.S. Bishops’ Rational Review Board

“I think my essay, ‘Psychiatric Misadventures’ was the opening gun in the attack upon the recovered memory thesis. It spoke of how similar this is to the witch trials. You are an obvious victim of that matter. I hope that we can soon celebrate your release from this sick and sad misdirection of American justice.”

Dept. of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Univ. (March 15, 2006)

Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal. Editorial Board

“If the events leading to Fr. MacRae’s prosecution had all the makings of dark fiction, the trial itself perfectly reflected the realities confronting defendants in cases of this kind. For the complainant in this case, as for many others seeking financial settlements, a criminal trial – with its discovery requirements, cross examinations, and the possibility, even, of defeat – was a highly undesirable complication. The therapist preparing Thomas Grover for his civil suit against the diocese sent news, enthusiastically informing him that she’d had word from the police that Gordon MacRae had been offered a plea deal he could not refuse, and that the client could probably rest assured there would be no trial. On the contrary, Fr. MacRae would over the next months refuse two attractive pretrial plea deals, the second offering a mere one to three years for an admission of guilt.

Throughout his testimony, Thomas Grover repeatedly railed at the priest for forcing” him to endure the torments of a trial. He would not have much to fear, in the end, in these proceedings, whose presiding judge, the Hon. Arthur D. Brennan refused to allow into evidence Thomas Grover’s long juvenile history of theft, assault, forgery and drug offenses. In New Hampshire, where juries need only find the accusers credible in sex abuse cases, with no proofs required, this was no insignificant restriction. The judge also took it upon himself to instruct jurors to ‘disregard inconsistencies in Mr. Grover’s testimony,’ and said that they should not think him dishonest because of his failure to answer questions. The jury had much to disregard.’

Excerpt, “A Priest’s Story,” WSJ (April 27/28, 2005)


Cardinal Avery Dulles on “Sex Abuse and Signs of Fraud”

“Your article is an important one, and hopefully will be followed by many others. Unfortunate though your situation is, you are in the position to carry on an effective apostolate on behalf of unjustly accused priests. You have the time, talent, and energy to do so. The time is bound to come when the tide will shift and when even the bishops will be ready to hear the priests’ side of the story …The change will come, but not before the public is prepared for it by articles such as yours.”

Letter of November 18, 2005

John R. Sweeney, New Hampshire State Prison Chaplain 1991-2001

“Father [Gordon] MacRae seems consistently aware of the importance of his behavior to everyone he comes in contact with. I have never seen or heard anything to the contrary. During the extensive time we have spent together over the years I have become familiar with many of the details of the case against him that resulted in his trial and various lawsuits seeking monetary rewards, as well as Father MacRae’s attempts to investigate and gather information that might lead towards overturning the charges against him. He has never wavered in his statements that he is innocent of all charges against him regarding sexual misconduct with minors.

As prison Chaplain, I made a deliberate effort to maintain a presence in all living, work, and recreation areas including the unit to which Father MacRae is assigned. Prison populations, of course, include a very broad array of people having a very wide variety of personal behaviors. Many, particularly the younger inmates in Father MacRae’s living unit are quite vulnerable to predators. In ten years, I have never seen or heard in any form of anything that would suggest he was ever involved in any way with any type of inappropriate behavior including that which his accusers attributed to him. In short his behavior, to the best of my knowledge, has been exemplary. I believe that Father MacRae is a priest for whom priesthood means very much.”

Document, September 20, 2004

Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard
“Fr. Gordon MacRae … was convicted of child molestation several years ago on the uncorroborated testimony of a single individual.  Along with a number of other lawyers who have looked at the facts, I have come to share the opinion of Wall Street Journal writer Dorothy Rabinowitz that Fr. MacRae was very likely the victim of a criminal extortion scheme.”

Document, September 23, 2004

Bradford E. Cook, Esq., Attorney for the Diocese of Manchester

“Throughout this process, it was obvious that all of the Grovers were expansive in their testimony and it was aimed at getting a certain result, and frankly none of the attorneys involved in the civil or criminal cases trusted their testimony to be completely accurate.”

“Whether it was all trumped up or totally manufactured is impossible to know … That it was embellished was clear.”

“Detective McLaughlin has been the instigator of many cases in the Keene area and seems to be a crusader on sexual abuse cases, engaging in questionable activities which border on entrapment on occasion.”

“[Father] MacRae’s assertions are true in the fact that corroborating evidence outside of the Grover family was not forthcoming.”

“MacRae is right that the public defender did not do a good job with his state appeal.”

“As to the involvement of Father Scruton or anyone else at St. Bernard’s, clearly there were several members of the clergy located at that church who had problems and it is impossible to discount that one or more of them may have been involved with one or more of the Grovers.” [See "A Priest's Story,” R.A. MacDonald's "Truth in Justice" for a further analysis of this statement, Editors.].

“Certainly the timing of the Grover cases and other highly publicized cases in the country, including [Fr. James] Porter, was not helpful to the environment in which MacRae was tried.”

Source: Memo to Bishop John McCormack , 2001

Comments

  1. Pierre Matthews says:

    Jeremy:

    A deeply felt tribute from a genuinely grateful ex-convict,
    now, a proud man.

    What a sunny day for you, Fr.G

  2. Jeremy says:

    There is a lot more to the story of Father Gordon MacRae than you know. I want to tell you about the real Gordon MacRae. I spent five years in prison with him, but we didn’t know him as Father anything. Just G. I was 19 years old when I went to prison and most people thought I was 16 or 17. Every young kid in prison is very aware of predators and prison is filled with them. A tiger can’t change his stripes and a man who is a predator on the streets can be a monster in prison.

    G is far from a predator. He was the only person any of us could trust. He treated with nothing but care and respect and challenged us to leave prison better than when we came in. In all those years I never saw, heard, or felt anything that made me believe G ever belonged in prison.

    There’s something else you need to know. There was this big, tough man on our cell block who everyone feared. I was a pretty tough kid and could handle myself , but one night this guy told my roommate to be somewhere else. Then he came in my cell and demanded something despicable from me. When I refused he dragged me from my bunk and started beating me. I fought but was no match for him and he pinned me to the floor. All the upstanding convicts fled to their cells and blocked their ears.

    Then the beating stopped and i realized someone else was in the room. It was G. The man stood up and demanded that G leave. G just said, “I don’t jump on your command.” Then this beast just lunged at him, but G stood there and didn’t move. When this guy saw that g wasn’t backing down he walked past G and left. G made sure I was okay. This man never came near me again. He never even looked at me again.

    I am out of prison today because of G. All I learned about courage and integrity and honor I learned from G.
    Jeremy

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