Mass. Candidate: I Wrote More Letters to Rapist

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The New York Sun

BOSTON — A Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Deval Patrick, acknowledged yesterday that he had more contact with a convicted rapist than he had previously told reporters, after a report showed that he corresponded with the man in the 1990s and wrote at least two letters to the parole board on his behalf.

Mr. Patrick, who last week said he had written just one letter more than a decade ago on behalf of convicted rapist Benjamin LaGuer, said he had to correct himself after “doing his homework.”

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that Mr. Patrick had twice written to the Parole Board, in 1998 and 2000, supporting the release of LaGuer, who maintains that he was innocent of raping a 59-year-old neighbor two decades ago. DNA testing in 2002 linked LaGuer to the crime scene.

Yesterday, Mr. Patrick said he believed at the time he wrote the letters that in the credibility of allegations of racism among the jurors. Before the DNA testing, the case had attracted intellectuals including former Boston University President John Silber and historian Elie Wiesel. Mr. Patrick said he now believes LaGuer is guilty, based on the DNA evidence. Recent polls show Mr. Patrick with a strong lead over his Republican opponent, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey race.

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