June 23, 2018
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Capture of longtime Mass. fugitive in Gorham leads police to review unsolved Maine rapes

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine State Police on Monday will begin reviewing unsolved sexual assault cases in the last three decades to see whether any can be tied to Gary Allen Irving, who was convicted of three Massachusetts rapes in 1978 and avoided capture living in Gorham until last week.

“We’re starting to review where he was for 30 years, looking back at open cases the last 33 years and checking DNA evidence,” said Maine State Trooper Jeremy Forbes on Monday morning.

Irving, 52, waived extradition rights during a brief appearance in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Monday morning. As a result, he was to be immediately taken to Massachusetts, where he faces sentencing for the nearly 35-year-old crimes in Norfolk County — three counts each of rape, kidnapping and unnatural acts.

Irving wore a bright yellow, prison-issued outfit Monday in court. Handcuffed and shackled, with a long, graying beard, he gave only one-word answers when asked by the judge whether he understood the extradition waiver and consequences of signing it.

According to police, Irving, at the age of 18, committed the three assaults during the summer of 1978 by hiding in the bushes, accosting at knifepoint women who passed by, then pulling them back into his hiding spot and sexually assaulting them.

One of Irving’s victims was 16 years old. He had been on the state of Massachusetts’ Most Wanted List for years when local, state and federal authorities arrested him without incident at his home on South Street in Gorham last Wednesday.

Forbes said it would be a “very rare” case in which somebody committed crimes such as kidnappings and rapes and then was able to control those violent impulses for more than three decades. He said Maine State Police investigators plan to review open sex assault cases that took place during Irving’s time in Maine.

Attorney Christopher Leddy, who has represented Irving during two brief court appearances in Maine, said he did not discuss what transpired in Massachusetts with his client, but acknowledged that it “would be incredibly unusual” for a serial rapist to stop committing violent crimes for more than 30 years.

“It would be a very strange circumstance for somebody to go from committing crimes like that to zero — just a speeding ticket,” Leddy said Monday morning after Irving waived extradition.

Irving’s wife of nearly 30 years and two children were in the courthouse for his hearing Monday, but did not want to speak to reporters. Leddy said Irving’s family did not know about his past before last week’s arrest, but said they love him.

“The person you literally defined as husband and father for the last 33 years is somebody different,” Leddy said of the family’s reaction. “They really don’t want any of this attention they’re getting.”

Forbes said he believed Irving’s wife, two children and a young granddaughter were all home when three Maine state troopers, 10 Massachusetts state troopers, one Gorham police officer and one FBI agent arrived to take him into custody last week. Forbes said the police knocked on the door and said they were responding to a 911 hang-up call in order to get Irving to step outside.

Forbes said they positively identified Irving by a scar on his chest. He said Massachusetts police have not released how they learned of Irving’s whereabouts.

“He was making a cake when they found him,” Leddy said. “[His granddaughter] is 3, and she misses her grandfather very much.

Police say they found firearms in Irving’s home and that he will likely face either state or federal charges of illegal possession of firearms by a convicted felon. Forbes said he could not specify how many or what types of firearms were found at the home, citing the ongoing investigation in the case.

“He’s worried about his family,” Leddy said of Irving. “He lived in the same house for quite some time, went to work every day, went to football games that his son played in.”

Irving reportedly went by the assumed name Gregg Irving while living in Gorham and worked installing telephone systems. Leddy said he believed most of the weapons in the South Street home were given to the Irvings in the will of a family member, and that Irving himself owned just one gun, which he used for hunting.

The attorney said Irving never faced any gun charges. Leddy said during Irving’s 33-plus years on the lam, he interacted with police or courts on three occasions: The aforementioned speeding ticket, when he believed his wife’s identity had been stolen and when he was called for jury duty.

“He wasn’t a master sleuth,” Leddy said. “He did a couple of things differently and then just lived his life.”

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