DEDHAM, Mass. — Gary Alan Irving, the convicted rapist who eluded police for 34 years after fleeing to Maine, was finally sentenced Thursday, and his attorney said Irving doesn’t even remember committing the crimes.
Irving, 52, who lived in Gorham for at least the last three decades, was sentenced by Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman to consecutive 18- to 20-year terms for two counts of rape, meaning he will serve as much as 40 years in prison.
Irving also was sentenced for six other counts of rape, assault and kidnapping related to crimes in the summer of 1978 on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Those sentences are shorter than the sentences for the rapes and will run concurrently.
Information emerged during Thursday’s hearing that indicated another person may have joined Irving in committing one of the rapes.
Assistant District Attorney Michele Armour said the accomplice participated but was never charged because he was 16 at the time, and now the statute of limitations has run out.
Fishman acknowledged that 40 years could be a life sentence for a man of Irving’s age, but said he thinks it is fair, given the victims’ physical and psychological trauma, Irving’s lack of remorse and “his deceit over the past 34 years.”
Armour said she was pleased with the length of the sentence.
“I think it gives some sense of peace and justice to the victims,” she said on the courthouse steps after the hearing.
Irving’s attorney, Neil Tassel, who recommended a sentence of eight to 10 years, said he disagreed with the basis for his client’s sentence. He said Irving has lived for the past 34 years as a loving husband, father and law-abiding citizen, and that should have been a mitigating factor.
Tassel said his client has no recollection of committing the crimes and maintains his innocence. He said he is still considering whether to appeal the conviction, but acknowledged that it would be a challenge.
Although the transcripts from Irving’s trial in 1979 have been recovered, Tassel said, “(The state) has failed to preserve all the evidence of the trial.”
Several members of Irving’s family sat a few rows behind him Thursday in the courtroom. His wife, Bonnie, and his two adult children were present, as was his brother, Greg, whose name he assumed when he fled to Maine, and his mother, Margaret. They all declined to speak to reporters.
None of Irving’s victims attended the sentencing, although the judge heard impact statements from all three, including one that was read by the sister of a victim.
The sister, who identified herself only as Lisa, said after the hearing that the sentence gives her sister the “energy and ability to put this behind her.”
Irving, originally of Rockland, Mass., was convicted in June 1979 of sexually assaulting three girls in the summer of 1978, when he was 17. Irving surprised his victims, all of whom were walking or riding a bicycle, forced them into secluded areas or into his car and raped them at knifepoint.
The victims identified Irving from his yearbook photo, and from a graduation tassel in his high school’s colors that hung from his car’s rearview mirror.
After Irving’s conviction and before his sentencing, a judge released him into his parents’ custody for one final weekend before he reported to jail. Irving disappeared.
For years, police in Massachusetts sought clues about his whereabouts. He became one of the commonwealth’s most sought-after fugitives and his case was featured numerous times on nationally syndicated television shows such as “America’s Most Wanted” and “Unsolved Mysteries.”
Earlier this year, when police got a tip from one of Irving’s family members in Massachusetts, they learned where he was hiding — about 150 miles to the north, in Gorham.
Police arrested Irving on March 27 at his home. His wife of 32 years and his two children apparently knew nothing about his past, police said. Irving had a longtime steady job, was active in his children’s schools and even was registered to vote under his assumed name.
Irving, who appeared in court Thursday in a short-sleeved plaid shirt and black pants, with his long hair pulled back in a ponytail, showed little emotion during the sentencing. As the victim impact statements were read, he hung his head and closed his eyes.
None of the women ever married, and none had any children. They all talked about having flashbacks and nightmares, and not being able to trust men.
When the time came for Irving to address the court, he declined. Tassel said his client did not want to cause any more pain for the victims.
Although they were not read in court, Tassel provided numerous letters from family members and friends of Irving, describing a gentle and loving family man.
Armour, the prosecutor, said none of that mattered.
“They did not know the true Gary Irving,” she said in court. “He should have been incarcerated when he met his wife. He lied each and every day.”
Also in the courtroom Thursday was Doris Dickson, who was a friend and neighbor of Irving when he was a teenager, before she severed ties with him shortly before his crimes. She said that when she heard the victims’ statements, she couldn’t help but feel how they felt.
Dickson said Irving never assaulted her, but she was afraid for 34 years that he might come for her.
After the hearing, she said the sentence didn’t feel long enough.
Dickson had said previously that she wants to visit Irving in prison. She said Thursday that she still plans to do that.
“I need to collect myself and figure out what I want to say, what questions I want to ask,” she said.
Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at: