*EXCLUSIVE REPORT* Alarming New Evidence May Exonerate Imprisoned Priest

Rev. Gordon J. MacRae in 2011

Rev. Gordon J. MacRae in 2011

  • Rev. Gordon J. MacRae, sentenced to 33½ to 67 years, has been in the New Hampshire State Prison For Men since 1994 on abuse charges.
  • Newly released signed statements in a recent court motion contend that the primary accuser, Thomas Grover, made up the accusations to extract money from the Church.
  • Grover's former stepson: "On several occasions, Grover told me that he had never been molested by MacRae."
  • Grover's former wife: Grover is a "compulsive liar" and a "manipulator" who "can tell a lie and stick to it 'til its end." Most notably, Grover "never stated one word of abuse by [MacRae]."
  • Former friend of Grover and accuser who recanted: I knew "full well that it was [all] bogus … I did not want to lie or make up stories."
  • Veteran FBI detective, after three-year private investigation: "I discovered no evidence of MacRae having committed the crimes charged, or any other crimes."
  • Former drug and alcohol counselor for Grover: Accuser Grover claimed abuse "by so many disparate people that his credibility in the [counseling] program was seriously in doubt"; Grover seemed like "he was going for some kind of sexual abuse victim world record." Plus, aggressive New Hampshire detectives applied "coercion, intimidation, veiled and more forward threats" and "threats of arrest" upon the counselor to try to extract a false incrimination of MacRae from her.
  • Courtroom spectators during Fr. MacRae's 1994 trial: A therapist hired by Grover's contingency lawyer used hand signals from the back of the courtroom to coach Grover on the witness stand.
  • Plus: A lengthy criminal rap sheet of accuser Grover reveals numerous arrests, before and after trial: multiple forgeries, multiple thefts, multiple burglaries, and assault on a police officer (after breaking his future ex-wife's nose). The jury at the trial never heard any of this.
  • and more.

Eye-popping new evidence is shining a new light on one of the most disputed cases of the entire Catholic Church abuse narrative.

Rev. Gordon J. MacRae and his attorneys have filed a motion for a new trial in New Hampshire based on astonishing new declarations.

The motion for a new trial contains multiple, uncollaborated signed statements from a number of people who were close to accuser Thomas Grover at the time Fr. MacRae's 1994 criminal trial, and these statements indicate that Grover perpetrated a massive fraud in falsely accusing the cleric of abuse.

1. The motion contains an astonishing 2008 signed statement from the former stepson of accuser Grover, who was in the company of Grover for a period of years before, during, and after Fr. MacRae's 1994 criminal trial:

"[O]ver a number of months and years, Thomas Grover discussed the sex abuse allegations of [Father] Gordon MacRae with me. Grover often stated to me that he was going to set MacRae and the church up to gain money for sexual abuse. Grover would laugh and joke about this scheme

"On several occasions Grover told me that he had never been molested by MacRae.

"Grover, on several occasions, called his civil case attorneys for money or cash advances on his expected cash award and Grover told me that his attorneys directed him to go for psychiatric and drug therapy to gain jury appeal in his court case."

[Click here to read this man's signed statement]


2. The motion also contains statements from the former wife of accuser Grover. According to this woman, Grover is a "compulsive liar" and a "manipulator," "who can tell a lie and stick to it 'til its end."

She also has claimed:

  • Grover asked her to marry him in 1994 "because it would look better and, more importantly, he needed the security of a wife for a trial."
  • In the entire time the pair were together, "never once did [Grover] say he was abused by MacRae."
  • Grover claimed that his monetary civil suit was to pay for his needed therapy, but once he received his sizable settlement ($195,000 in 1997), he never returned to therapy again.

[Click here to see relevant court documents related to Grover's former wife.]


3. Also included in the file is a 2008 signed statement from a former friend of Grover who recanted his bogus claims of abuse by MacRae. The statement shockingly suggests that the lead detective in Fr. Gordon's New Hampshire case, James McLaughlin, attempted to manipulate the young man into making a false accusation:

"I was aware at the time of [Father] Gordon's trial knowing full well that it was bogus and having heard of the lawsuits and money involved, also the reputations of those who were making accusations.

"I agreed to meet with the [detectives] after being told I would be reimbursed for my time/gas money …  [Detective] McLaughlin had me believing that all I had to do is make up a story about Gordon 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 knew of the Grovers' reputation as well as others involved, many of whom I went to school with. It seemed as though it would be easy money if I would also accuse Gordon of wrongdoing. I left that meeting after being given I believe $50, easy money, like what would come from lawsuits against MacRae."

Fortunately, after being subpoenaed, the man had a change of feelings. "I did not want to lie or make up stories … Gordon had never done anything wrong towards me," the man has written.

[Click here to read this man's handwritten statement]


4. Then there are the recent declarations from Debra Collett, who is Thomas Grover's former drug and alcohol counselor.

After spending much time with Grover, Ms. Collett found Grover to be sorely lacking in integrity.

According to Collett, Grover claimed to be molested "by so many disparate people that his credibility in the [counseling] program was seriously in doubt." It seemed "he was going for some kind of sexual abuse victim world record."

Most notably, Ms. Collett indicates that she was a victim of intimidating and corrupt detective work.

In the course of trying to nab Fr. MacRae, Detective James McLaughlin and another detective interviewed Collett. They desperately wanted Collett to corroborate Grover's claims, but she could not give them what they wanted. Collet has said:

"Neither [detective] presented as an investigator looking for what information I had to contribute, but rather presented as each having made up their mind and sought to substantiate their belief in Gordon MacRae's guilt … I was uncomfortable with [the other detective's] repeated stopping and starting of his tape recorder when he did not agree with my answer to his questions and his repeated statements that he wanted to put [MacRae] where he belonged behind bars … I confronted [the other detective] about his statements and his stopping and starting the recording of my statement, his attitude and his treatment of me which seemed to me to include coercion, intimidation, veiled and more forward threats as well as being disrespectful. At that point and in later dealings, I was overtly threatened concerning my reluctance to continue to subject myself to their tactics, with threats of arrest

"My overall experience personally in interacting with the detectives was one of being bullied, there being an attitude of verbalized animosity, anger and preconception of guilt regarding Gordon MacRae. They presented as argumentative, manipulative and threatening via use of police power in an attempt to get me to say what they wanted to hear."

Collett's statements are indeed disturbing.

[Click here to see relevant court documents about the statements by Debra Collett.]


5. Courtroom spectators who were present at Fr. MacRae's 1994 trial have reported that Grover's therapist, hired by Grover's contingency lawyer, used hand signals from the back of the courtroom to coach Grover during his testimony.

"[The therapist] would have direct eye contact with Grover and place her finger on her right cheek just at the eye level and slowly move her finger down her cheek with a distinct sorrowful frown on her face. Grover observed this and began to cry on the stand and wept for a good part of his testimony. This was in stark contrast to Grover's behavior after his testimony and in the hall outside the court where he was jumping up and down and laughing and joking with some of his supporters."

[Click here to read the exhibit about what these courtroom spectators witnessed.]


6. Unknown to the criminal jury during Fr. Gordon's trial was that Thomas Grover had a lengthy criminal rap sheet, which included arrests for forgery, thefts, and burglaries.

[Click here to read about accuser Thomas Grover's lengthy rap sheet.]


7. These startling new discoveries are largely the result of the thorough work conducted over three years by veteran investigator James M. Abbott. Abbott served in the FBI for over a quarter of a century in numerous capacities. He also worked for years for Suffolk County, New York, and the New York City Police Department.

Mr. Abbott has soberly concluded:

"During the entirety of my three-year investigation of this matter, I discovered no evidence of MacRae having committed the crimes charged, or any other crimes. Indeed, the only thing pointing to any improper behavior by MacRae were Grover's stories – that were undermined by the people who surrounded him at the time he made his accusations and the trial."

[Click here to read the complete signed affidavit of James Abbott.]

This alarming body of new evidence should certainly give pause to anyone who may have thought that Fr. MacRae's guilt was certain.

[Click here to read the entire court motion.]

The National Center for Reason and Justice is sponsoring Fr. MacRae’s case, and TheMediaReport.com continues to gather more compelling information about this important episode. Stay tuned for future articles.


- "Should the Case of Father Gordon MacRae Be Reviewed?" (pdf) (2010)
by Ryan A. MacDonald
- "Justice Delayed for Father MacRae" by Harvey Silverglate (Wall St. Journal, October 9, 2022)