April 3, 2013

Bill Nemitz: Fugitive rapist's arrest hits many nerves

By Bill Nemitz bnemitz@pressherald.com
Columnist

(Continued from page 1)

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Gary Irving, convicted rapist, leaves the Cumberland County Court House on Monday, April 1 to be transported to Massachusetts.

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"We're not hoping that he did anything up here," said Trooper Forbes, who will begin his search by running Irving's DNA profile against those already in Maine's sexual assault database. "But if we didn't check into it, we wouldn't be doing justice to anyone out there who's one of these open cases."

Beyond the DNA, Forbes said, investigators will do their best to track Irving's movements over the years and cross-check them with open cases still on file in scores of local law enforcement agencies. With luck, those departments may have retained evidence that has yet to be tested for DNA -- whether it matches Irving's or not, it will at least be added to the database.

Meanwhile, the keepers of Maine's sexual assault hotlines wait -- if not for the rest of Irving's story, then for the countless other victims out there who have been paralyzed by scars, both physical and emotional, that can last a lifetime.

"There's a reprocessing that for a lot of people will accompany this event," said Courchesne. "It might bring up a lot of emotions related to how they were feeling at the time (they were assaulted) -- anger, sadness, all of those things."

Maybe you -- or someone you know -- have been feeling those things since the news cameras showed police walking a handcuffed Irving from the comfort of his suburban home to a long overdue court appearance.

Maybe your family, just like Irving's, has long-held secrets that need to be told.

Maybe you've simply stayed too quiet for too long while someone who should be behind bars acts like nothing ever happened.

Whatever the reason, a sympathetic ear awaits you at (800) 871-7741, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault's statewide hotline. Or, if that's busy, call Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine's direct line at (800) 313-9900.

Can they dissolve your troubles in less than an hour as those miracle workers on TV do?

Not a chance.

But they have all the time in the world to listen.

 

Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:

bnemitz@pressherald.com

 

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