N.H. Jury Deliberating Case of Priest Accused of Raping Altar BoyApr 23, 2003 | AP Jurors will resume deliberations Wednesday in the case of a Roman Catholic priest charged with raping a teenage altar boy in 1985.
The jury deliberated for about 7 1/2 hours Tuesday before recessing for the evening. They had deliberated for about 90 minutes after receiving the case Monday.
The Rev. George Robichaud, 58, admitted having inappropriate sexual contact with the altar boy, now a 33-year-old state trooper, but he denies raping him.
Defense attorney Peter Callaghan said the trooper at different times said he was 14, 15 or 16 legally old enough to consent to sex when he was allegedly assaulted at the priest's lake cottage.
"Credibility is a big issue in this case," Callaghan said. "His statements are all over the place."
Robichaud faces 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison if convicted. He is the first priest to face criminal charges in New Hampshire since the church abuse scandal erupted 18 months ago.
The trooper, who had family problems as a child, testified that Robichaud befriended him in 1984 when the priest was pastor of St. Anthony's and St. Stephen's churches in Swanzey.
In the spring of 1985, Robichaud took the boy to his cottage on Lake Winnisquam, fondled him and had sex with him briefly, the trooper testified.
Last year, the trooper wore a hidden recording device and confronted Robichaud. The priest said he was drinking at the time and meant no harm when he "played affectionally" with the boy at the cottage.
Robichaud is on leave as a pastor at two churches in Wolfeboro pending the outcome of the trial.