Massachusetts rapist returns to court from Maine

Associated Press

Gary Irving sits in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, Mass., on Monday. Irving, who was arrested last week in Maine, disappeared 34 years ago while awaiting sentencing in Massachusetts for three rapes.

DEDHAM, Mass. — A man who disappeared while awaiting sentencing for three rapes in Massachusetts 34years ago is being held without bail after agreeing to return without a fight.

Gary Alan Irving, 52, was arrested last week in Maine on a fugitive charge after Massachusetts State Police learned he was living there under an assumed name.

Irving signed a waiver of extradition on a fugitive from justice charge during a brief appearance Monday in the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland, Maine.

He appeared Monday afternoon in Norfolk Superior Court, where he was convicted decades ago. Prosecutors said they hope to sentence him in the old case within the next three weeks. Irving returns to court April 12.

Irving faced a possible life sentence after being convicted in 1979 on three counts of rape and kidnapping. He went on the lam after a judge allowed him to return home to make final arrangements before sentencing.

He was arrested last week after authorities discovered he was living under the name Gregg Irving in Gorham, Maine, a town of about 16,000 people west of Portland.

Maine State Police on Monday told the Bangor Daily News that they have begun reviewing unsolved sexual assault cases in the last three decades to see whether any can be tied to Irving.

“We’re starting to review where he was for 30 years, looking back at open cases the last 33 years and checking DNA evidence,” Trooper Jeremy Forbes told the BDN.

Irving’s arrest came as a jolt to his wife and their grown son and daughter, who had no idea of Irving’s true identity, said attorney Chris Leddy, who represented Irving at his hearing in Maine.

“That’s a surreal event, I think that’s the only word that applies to the family,” Leddy said. “They’re still in a state of shock.”

His wife, two children and two family friends were in court in Portland when Irving appeared in shackles and a yellow jail uniform. The family left without speaking to reporters.

While living in Maine, Irving went to work every day, paid taxes, went to high school football games and otherwise led a normal life with his wife and two children, Leddy said. He once received a speeding ticket and sat on jury duty for a month. He was baking a cake when he was arrested.

“It would be a very strange circumstance for somebody to go from committing crimes like that to zero — just a speeding ticket,” Leddy told the BDN.

Irving’s quiet life in Gorham was a stark contrast to the portrait of Irving as a teenager, when he was convicted in 1979 and later earned a spot on the Massachusetts Top 10 Most Wanted list for decades.

In one incident, Irving knocked a woman off her bike and brought her to a secluded area, where he repeatedly raped her, according to Massachusetts State Police. In another incident, he forced the victim into his car as she was walking and threatened to use a knife if she didn’t comply with his demands.

His profile over the years was featured on TV’s “America’s Most Wanted,” “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol.”

“With all due respect to what happened in Massachusetts, you have to understand the story that is Maine’s has to do with a gentleman named Gregg Irving,” Leddy said. “And Gregg Irving’s life in Maine has been relatively normal.”

When Irving was arrested last Wednesday night, he was calm and at first maintained he wasn’t the man police were seeking, Maine State Police Trooper Jeremy Forbes said outside the courthouse. But he eventually admitted his true identity and asked police how they found him, Forbes said.

It’s highly unusual for a fugitive in a high-profile case to fly under the radar for decades and elude capture, he said.

“It’s a very rare case,” he said.

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Genise Knowlton's picture

Fugitive???

OMG you would think this man would have been located - it's not like he was across country or something but less than 200 miles from his original home. Would like to know the real story here - like what evidence convicted him - was he wrongfully convicted - how did he stay under the radar all this time and live what appears to be a normal life with work, family, firends, community, etc.

My heart reaches out to his wife and children -

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