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Mass. gubernatorial candidate wrote to parole board on rapist's behalf, but says DNA tests changed his mind

Mass. gubernatorial candidate wrote to parole board on rapist's behalf, but says DNA tests changed his mind

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick acknowledged Wednesday he had more contact with a convicted rapist than he had previously told reporters, after a report showed he corresponded with the man in the 1990s and wrote at least two letters to the parole board on his behalf.
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 going back and "doing his homework."
The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that Patrick had twice written to the Parole Board, in 1998 and 2000, supporting the release of LaGuer, who maintains he was innocent of raping a 59-year-old neighbor two decades ago.
DNA testing in 2002 linked LaGuer to the crime scene.
On Wednesday, Patrick said that he believed at the time he wrote the letters there were credible 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.
Patrick said he now believes LaGuer is guilty, based on the DNA evidence.
"He raised serious issues and I think they have been taken seriously. They deserve to be taken seriously," he said.
Recent polls show Patrick with a strong lead over Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey in the Massachusetts governor's race.


Updated : 2021-01-18 11:40 GMT+08:00