A Roman Catholic priest was arrested in Massachusetts yesterday and charged with raping two young boys two decades ago in Dover.
The Rev. Joseph Maguire, who was assigned to various New Hampshire parishes during the 1970s and 1980s, was charged with raping two boys under age 13 in Dover between 1977 and 1981.
Maguire faces three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, which includes rape; 23 counts of felonious sexual assault; and eight counts of sexual assault. He faces more than 200 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
Maguire was arrested at his home in Dennis, Mass., and arraigned in Orleans (Mass.) District Court. He was being held without bail.
Senior Assistant Attorney General William Delker said the state will need to extradite Maguire to New Hampshire. He was not certain how long that will take, or whether Maguire would resist.
Maguire’s name was among 15 released by the Diocese of Manchester in February 2002 as part of an effort to tell authorities about priests against whom credible allegations of abuse had been made.
The diocese did not detail the allegations against Maguire but said his pastoral ministry had been revoked.
In May, the police in Dover said they investigated Maguire in 1986 after receiving an anonymous letter accusing him of molesting boys in Dover and Boston, as well as giving them alcohol and taking pornographic pictures of them.
The police said Maguire admitted molesting four boys at St. Joseph’s Church in Dover, as well as one at St. John Evangelist in Hudson in the 1970s just before being transferred to the Dover area.
Officials said the abuse in Dover occurred during the late 1970s, mostly in the church rectory, and involved altar boys between the ages of 9 and 13. They also said Maguire took the boys on trips.
The police said Maguire denied giving the boys alcohol or taking photographs of them, and no photographs were found.
Authorities said Maguire, who by 1986 had transferred to a religious order in Waltham, Mass., was not charged with any crimes because the statute of limitations had expired.
Delker would not say whether the boys Maguire is charged with assaulting are among those he admitted molesting. He also would not discuss how the statute of limitations affected the case.
Recognizing that it often takes victims years to come forward, New Hampshire law allows prosecutors to file child sexual assault charges until the victim turns 40. New Hampshire’s statute of limitations stops tolling if the perpetrator leaves the state and remains outside it after the assault.
Maguire also faces several civil lawsuits, including one by a Newfield, Maine, man who says Maguire molested him between the ages of 9 and 15 in Dover.
Maguire was ordained in 1973 after an 18-year career as an electronics salesman. Before Dover, Maguire served at parishes in Whitefield and Hudson, and part time in Somersworth, Pelham, Manchester and Hampton. In May 1986, he was transferred to Ireland.