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Mahoney to plead guilty in N.H. June 8

Posted: March 9, 2012 5:06 p.m.
Updated: March 12, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Clarence Mahoney, 70, the former chairman of the Camden Historic Landmarks Commission (CHLC), will plead guilty June 8 to sexual assault of a minor in Rockingham County, N.H. Mahoney could spend between seven and a half to 15 years in prison.

Mahoney’s attorney filed a “Notice of Intent to Enter Plea of Guilty” Feb. 28. A Notice of Hearing for the June 8 court date was filed March 6. Copies of the documents were obtained by the C-I late Thursday.

A New Hampshire grand jury indicted Mahoney Sept. 6, 2011, on a charge of aggravated felonious sexual assault of a minor male child under the age of 13. The indictment said the incidents took place between March 1, 2006, and Jan. 1, 2011, in the town of Derry in Rockingham County. Derry is located in the southeast corner of New Hampshire about 20 minutes from the Massachusetts border.

The indictment further stated that Mahoney “engaged in a pattern of sexual assault” against the juvenile victim, listed in an electronic notation at the top of the indictment form as being between five and 10 years of age during the times the acts took place. The indictment went on to state that Mahoney committed “more than one act of intentionally engaging in sexual contact with (the victim) specifically by touching the genitalia of (the victim) with his hand, under circumstances that can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.”

The indictment said these multiple acts took place over two months or more during a five-year period.

At the time of Mahoney’s indictment, Rockingham County Assistant Attorney Brad Bolton said Mahoney was not arrested. Derry Police Department Capt. Vernon L. Thomas explained that his department withdrew an arrest warrant in lieu of the grand jury’s indictment and allowed Mahoney to be processed by being fingerprinted, photographed and providing identifying information.

Thomas said Mahoney had “frequent access to the victim,” but declined to comment on the identity of the child or his relationship to Mahoney. Thomas said other acts may have occurred in Williamsburg, Va.; Kitty Hawk, N.C.; and Austin, Texas. The C-I found no evidence charges have been filed in those jurisdictions.

Bolton said he did not know where Mahoney was living following the indictment.

On the Feb. 28 notice of intent form, however, Mahoney listed an address in Georgetown, Texas, a small community off I-35 about 30 minutes north of Austin.

Thomas said it did not appear any of the acts took place in South Carolina.

Mahoney lived in Camden’s historic district and, as CHLC chairman, played a prominent role in preservation efforts, including the 2005 historic designations of the Logtown, Kirkwood and Sarsfield neighborhoods. As a private citizen, he was also one of the more vocal critics of a move to develop the former site of Camden Middle School which he lived behind.

Mahoney’s Hampton Street home is for sale, listed on the market since August 2011 and is currently vacant. It is listed for $382,000, a slight decline from its original listing price of $399,900.

According to the hearing notice, Mahoney will appear in Rockingham Superior Court, located in Brentwood, N.H., about 20 minutes northeast of Derry. The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. June 8 and expected to last no more than 90 minutes.

By signing the notice of intent to enter the guilty plea, Mahoney agreed that he had discussed the matter with his attorney, Timothy M. Harrington, including the maximum and minimum penalties he could face.

The form includes a statement saying “I realize that I had earlier entered a plea of not guilty and that as a result of this change in plea, I will not go to trial as scheduled. I hereby waive my right to a speedy trial caused by this change in plea.”

The notice of intent form has three possible types of pleas to enter: a capped plea, fully negotiated plea or naked plea. Mahoney agreed on the form to a capped plea. In an email exchange Friday afternoon, Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams said a capped plea is one where a judge cannot impose a higher sentence than what has been recommended.

The terms listed on Mahoney’s notice of intent form stated “7 1/2 to 15 years, stand committed, with 2 1/2 years of minimum suspended upon completion SOP, Restitution for any medical/counseling costs, no contact with N.H.” “N.H.” is how all documents relating to the Mahoney case have referred to the victim.

Reams confirmed the term “SOP” refers to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections’ (NHDOC) Sexual Offender Program. According to a NHDOC document, the SOP “is intended to promote public safety by teaching inmates to control offending behaviors, develop victim empathy and establish relapse prevention skills.” The document said treatment usually begins two years before the offender’s earliest parole date and continues for 12 to 16 months.

According to New Hampshire state law, Mahoney could have received a prison sentence of between 10 to 20 years.

In filing the notice, Harrington also requested on Mahoney’s behalf that a presentencing investigation be conducted because of the nature of the charge and that June’s sentencing hearing will be under a capped plea. Harrington indicated he wanted to be present when Mahoney is interviewed as part of that process.

Harrington did not return a message seeking comment before deadline Friday.

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