Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Injustice Against Father Gordon J. MacRae

Father Gordon J. MacRae had always claimed his innocence even when he was in prison.  He was the author whose testimony I cited in my last published post Civil Liberties Of The Priests.  

In 2012, new evidence surfaced that Father Gordon was falsely accused in order to defraud the Church of money.  If you think that this cannot happen in Guam, it can.  This is why it is important to have an investigation and not just lawsuits. While child abuse in all its form is abhorrent, it is also abhorrent to put an innocent man in jail. According to The American Conservative:

Image result for Father Gordon MacRae
In due course there would be the civil settlement: $195,000 for [alleged abuse victim and key state witness] Mr. [Thomas] Grover and his attorneys. The payday—which the plaintiff had told the court he sought only to meet expenses for therapy—became an occasion for ecstatic celebration by Mr. Grover and friends. The party’s high point, captured by photographs now in possession of Father MacRae’s lawyers, shows the celebrants dancing around, waving stacks of $50 bills fresh from the bank.
The prospect of financial reward for anyone coming forward with accusations was no secret to teenage males in Keene, N.H., in the early 1990s. Some of them were members of that marginal society, in and out of trouble with the law, it fell to Father MacRae to counsel. Steven Wollschlager, who had been one of them—he would himself serve time for felony robbery—recalled that period of the 1990s in a 2008 statement to Father MacRae’s legal team. That it might not be in the best interest of a man with his own past legal troubles to give testimony undermining a high-profile state prosecution did not, apparently, deter him. “All the kids were aware,” Mr. Wollschlager recalled, “that the church was giving out large sums of money to keep the allegations from becoming public.”
This knowledge, Mr. Wollschlager said, fed the interest of local teens in joining the allegations. It was in this context that Detective James McLaughlin, sex-crimes investigator for the Keene police department, would turn his attention to the priest and play a key role in the effort to build a case against him. The full history of how Father MacRae came to be charged was reported on these pages in “A Priest’s Story,” April 27-28, 2005.
Mr. Wollschlager recalled that in 1994 Mr. McLaughlin summoned him to a meeting. As a young man, Mr. Wollschlager said, he had received counseling from Father MacRae. The main subject of the meeting with the detective was lawsuits and money and the priest. “All I had to do is make up a story,” Mr. Wollschlager said, and he too “could receive a large amount of money.” The detective “reminded me of my young child and girlfriend,” Mr. Wollschlager attests, and told him “that life would be easier for us.”
Eventually lured by the promise, Mr. Wollschlager said, he invented some claims of abuse. But summoned to a grand-jury hearing, he balked, telling an official that he refused to testify. He explains, in his statement, “I could not bring myself to give perjured testimony against MacRae, who had only tried to help me.” Asked for response to this charge, Mr. McLaughlin says it is “a fabrication.”
Along with the lure of financial settlements, the MacRae case was driven by that other potent force—the fevered atmosphere in which charges were built, the presumption of innocence buried. An atmosphere in which it was unthinkable—it still is today—not to credit as truthful every accuser charging a Catholic priest with molestation. There is no clearer testament to the times than the public statement in September 1993 issued by Father MacRae’s own diocese in Manchester well before the trial began: “The Church is a victim of the actions of Gordon MacRae as well as the individuals.” Diocesan officials had evidently found it inconvenient to dally while due process took its course.


  1. With the number of lawsuits coming up, it's probably happening now. How can we tell which of these alleged victims are REAL victims and which ones are out to defraud the Church?

    1. There are clearly several plaintiffs who are nothing more than people out to do the most harm to the Church possible. But most of the lawsuits were filed by survivors who have suffered with their memories for decades.

    2. As it has been said over and over again. I think most of the allegations are false on the premise that much like Fr. McRae's situation the accusers have refused to be interviewed by the emissary sent to Guam to investigate for the canonical trial.
      The only times they have made statements has been to the media to sensationalize the whole ordeal and attempt to win a moral argument and appeal to the people of Guam.
      It is a very common strategy used by extreme left ideologists by which you slander and demonize the person you intend to attack on the grounds of morality and not objective truth. In simple terms if you convince people that someone is evil then you can blind them to the truth. The only defense to this argument is accusing your accusers of being evil and immoral to expose the truth.
      The truth is that it is truly evil to use such a painful event as molestation to create polemic and for the goal of personal monetary gain. That is the true face of evil. Just think for a moment that these allegations might be false. The harm that these people are causing to abuse victims everywhere who are looking to actually heal and not looking for financial gain.
      I have family who have been victims and have healed with the help of Christ, and they find these people to be abhorrent and immoral. However we will constantly pray that even these people can find Christ.

    3. Anonymous at 11:25 PM: Only ONE ACCUSER who lives on Guam refused to be interviewed by Cardinal Burke. Two who live in the US were interviewed in March after the ones on GU and HI refused to testify. But word is that BOTH (the one on GU and in HI) will be meeting with Cardinal Burke to give their testimony.

      I agree that there are false accusations being made in the lawsuits (especially against Fr. Louis Brouillard) but Pope Francis would not have had Cardinal Burke take on the job of interviewing those who are accusing Archbishop Apuron if he thought there was no truth in the accusations ESPECIALLY after Archbishop Apuron himself assured the Pope that the accusations were nothing but lies. I'm sure the Vatican receives a lot of accusations but the fact that Burke flew out to GU, HI and then back to the US tells me that a full investigation is underway. The idea that he would return to HI to meet the two who had refused to testify the first time around is hard to believe IF he thought he was on a wild goose chase. He could have told them, "If you want to testify in this trial, I will be in (wherever he's scheduled to be) and you can come to see me there." Instead, he's going back to HI to get their testimonies.

      The REAL TRUTH is that for decades (even to the present time) people on Guam have known about the abuses and they kept their mouths shut. There are people (men and women) who continue to suffer in silence but won't reveal their abuse because family members don't want to be embarrassed.

      I pray that those with false claims will be weeded out so that those who were really abused will be able to receive what small bit of "justice" by getting some money. Nobody will get the millions they're asking for. And those with false accusations (I pray) will get NOTHING. But many who were abused are in desperate need of counseling and treatment for substance or alcohol abuse. The little money they receive can help them get the treatment they need.

    4. Anon 7:52 am
      Invite victims to NCW the counseling and healing is free. I have a sister who works as a psycologist and truly counseling helps but doesn't heal. Only in the NCW have a seen abuser and victim forgive, and heal to the point of being able to love each other in christ who died for the sinner.

  2. There has been far more fraud in these cases than the secular news media wants you to know. Have a look at "David Clohessy Resigns SNAP Amid Alleged Lawyer Kickback Scheme" here:

  3. Do some research, that's how you can tell. The amount of lawsuits was because of the large amounts of money being thrown around by the Church and the lawyers who processed hundreds of cases and made big bucks from it. They went out recruiting and the crooks answered! Read about Msgr Arsenault and his part in this and what he was actually doing! The facts are out there but most people want to take the easy way out and blame the wrong ones instead of finding out the truth. Read Fr. Gordon MacRae's story.

  4. I have heard there is a small group of Fr. Gordon's friends and supporters who are looking into getting his sentence commuted. Pray that this goes forward and final JUSTICE prevails! <><

  5. Ryan MacDonald I would like to contact regarding Fr. Gordon and the possibility of getting his sentence commuted.

    1. Dear Jim Preisendorfer,

      I think you wrote this comment on the wrong blog. Ryan MacDonald had his own blog.

  6. Father Gordon MacRae is still in prison as he has been for 23 years for a crime that never happened. How Thomas Grover could accuse him and lie throughout the trial along with his psycho psychologist who aided him throughout the trail by giving him signals when to sob in order to avoid answering questions is beyond belief! Grover now hides out on an Indian reservation and refuses to meet with any investigators seeking to interview him to end Father Gordon's death sentence. Does money really mean so much that one is prepared to have a death on their hands? Father MacRae was sentenced to 67 years. That is a life sentence. The judge never meant for him to be free. How sad!

  7. This is a sad story. What also bothers me is that people don't seem to care about falsely accused priests as much as they do actual victims of priestly abuse. (Assuming they care at all.) For instance, I was disgusted to see this Facebook post mocking Fr. Gordon: