March 17, 2010

ARREST REVEALS UNSAVORY PAST OF LANDLORD IN BIDDEFORD

Beth Kaiman Staff Writer

NOTE: THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED Wednesday, February 11, 1998

 

About every court clerk, local politician and city hall bureaucrat knows Rory Holland.

Holland, a 43-year-old landlord and relentless conversationalist, gained local attention two years ago when he brought a tote bag containing two frozen rats to a City Council meeting. He was protesting conditions at the apartment he was renting and what he called government inaction.

Ever since, Holland has gotten noticed. From his holding forth on the steps of Biddeford District Court about obscure legal concepts to his public offer to give a homeless woman shelter in his apartment house, Holland has insinuated himself into the civic life of downtown Biddeford.

But if Holland has presented himself as community-minded - between his hints and others' rumors of a serious criminal past - the image came undone last week. Holland was charged with kidnapping an 18-year-old woman and her 7-month-old son at gunpoint.

The woman said she was walking past Holland's South Street apartment building about noon Feb. 2, when he pulled a gun part way out of his pocket and ordered her and her baby inside.

Once they were in his apartment, police say the woman told them, Holland put a silver handgun on the coffee table. He rummaged through the kitchen drawers, according to a police affidavit, and periodically threatened, "You move, you die." Finally, the woman said, Holland walked out after making the second of two calls on his cellular telephone.

The woman told police she and her child were Holland's prisoners for 45 minutes to an hour. When she felt sure he had gone outside, she said she carried her child out.

Biddeford police arrested Holland at his home early the next morning.

As Holland sits in jail, he said he does not consider himself in trouble.

"I'm really counting on the truth to get me out of here," he said.

He also has been charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon. His bail at York County Jail has been set at $500,000 in property or $200,000 cash.

Holland disputes nearly every detail of the woman's story. He says he did not have a gun. He said the woman was not a stranger - he knew her from chance encounters at local churches, and two months ago sang a Christmas carol with her.

The judge has ordered the woman's name withheld from court documents for her protection.

The day of the alleged kidnapping, Holland says he was outside when the woman stopped to ask if he had an apartment for rent.

Holland said he showed her the apartment. He said he and the woman made sexual advances to each other and made a date to meet the next day for a sexual encounter.

A private investigator

investigator, say cellular phone records from Sprint show he made no calls between 11:36 a.m. and 4:43 p.m. Feb. 2. The woman told police Holland made two phone calls in the time she was held.

Holland also disputes when the alleged crime occurred. He said he did not begin speaking with the woman until mid-afternoon and spent the late morning collecting sand at the city's public works building and then spreading sand on driveways and sidewalks in his neighborhood.

Police found a cellular phone, but no gun in Holland's apartment.

Holland's arrest is among the biggest topics in Biddeford, where violent street crime is rare and residents thought they had a sense of the man - if only in bits and pieces - as engaging, moody, intelligent and, vaguely, legally troubled.

(Continued on page 2)

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