The Father Gordon J. MacRae Story

The Father Gordon J. MacRae Story

I recently received an email from a well known American journalist asking if my investigation and articles on the case of falsely accused and wrongly imprisoned priest, Father Gordon J. MacRae, can be found in one place. I had never thought of this, but it’s an excellent idea. A single post with a list of links to my publications at multiple sites on this case would be a helpful tool for anyone with an interest in this story that remains a gaping wound on the integrity of American justice.

In 2005, I came upon the story of Father Gordon MacRae in a series of articles by Pulitzer-Prize winning writer, Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal. This was my first inkling that the case against this Catholic priest, that I and most others thought to be fairly and justly adjudicated, was in fact deeply flawed.

As I looked more closely, and probed more deeply, it became apparent to me that this priest is a victim of a zealous sex crimes detective, a set of political agendas, and the greed of men pretending to be victims to ride a wave of media coverage of Catholic scandal to commit fraud.

There are two common denominators in the case against Fr. Gordon MacRae: Expectations of money, and Keene, NH sex crimes detective James F. McLaughlin. The articles below tell a shocking and unexplained account of fraudulent investigation, witness tampering, and claims of attempted bribery and falsification of evidence.

The following statement by Steven Wollschlager was presented to FBI Special Agent (Ret.) James Abbott who spent three years investigating this case. This disturbing statement is from an individual who accused Father MacRae and has now recanted. This man has nothing to gain except his own integrity by making this statement, but no New Hampshire judge has allowed him to testify. Here is his statement:

“My name is Steven Wollschlager. . . In 1994 I was contacted by Keene Police Detective McLaughlin. . . I was aware at the time of Father MacRae’s trial knowing full well that it was bogus and having heard of the lawsuits and money involved and also the reputations of those who were making accusations. I agreed to meet with the above detective after being told I would be reimbursed for my time.

During this the meeting, I just listened to the scenarios and statements being spoken to me by the police. The lawsuits and money were of greatest discussion and I was left feeling that if I would go along with the story I could reap the rewards as well . . . . McLaughlin had me believing that all I had to do was make up a story about this priest and I could receive a large sum of money as others already had. McLaughlin reminded me of the young child and girlfriend I had and referenced that life could be easier for us with a large amount of money.

I left that meeting after being given $50, easy money like what would come from lawsuits against MacRae. I was at the time using drugs and would have been influenced to say anything they wanted for money.”

When told of this statement, Detective McLaughlin described it to the Wall Street Journal as “a fabrication.” However, it is a testament to the role of money in this story that a full year before Father MacRae was charged with the claims of accuser Thomas Grover, hard evidence places this detective investigating this case from the Concord law office of Thomas Grover’s contingency lawyer, Attorney Robert Upton. Probing phone calls in an attempt to get this priest to say something incriminating, instead cast doubt on the role of this detective. Was he investigating a crime or choreographing a lawsuit?

The links below are to articles independently investigated and researched.


The Story Buried under the Father Gordon MacRae Case

A Touch of Deja Vu

How Psychotherapists Helped Send an Innocent Priest to Prison

Whack-A-Mole Justice Holds Court


The Trial of Father MacRae: A Conspiracy of Fraud

The Prison of Father MacRae: A Conspiracy of Silence

The Post-Trial Extortion of Father Gordon MacRae

Judge Arthur Brennan Sentenced Father Gordon MacRae to Die in Prison


Judge Joseph Laplante Denies Priest’s Appeal

For One Priest, A Fate Worse Than Dying in Prison

A Grievous Error in Judge Joseph LaPlante’s Court


Bishop Takes Pawn: Plundering the Rights of a Prisoner Priest

To Azazel: The Gospel of Mercy in the Diocese of Manchester

Justice and a Priest’s Right of Defense in the Diocese of Manchester

Prelude to the Year of Mercy: Confronting the Truth by Father George David Byers, Missionary of Mercy

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Written by
Ryan MacDonald