Franklin County jury finds Madrid Township man guilty of sexually abusing teen

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FARMINGTON — A Franklin County Superior Court jury found a Madrid Township man guilty Friday of sexually abusing a teenage boy in 2008.

John A. Fahnley, 59, also was found not guilty of sexually assaulting the boy in 2008 and not guilty of sexually abusing him in 2009. The incidents occurred at Fahnley’s home, according to court records.

When Detective Lt. David St. Laurent of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department put handcuffs on Fahnley, the boy’s family came out of a witness room to watch him be led away to jail.

Fahnley looked at them and said, “I hope you guys are happy.”

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The conviction came after nine hours of deliberations over two days of the three-day trial. It carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Justice Nancy Mills ordered Fahnley held without bail until sentencing next week.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins requested no bail because Fahnley was convicted of rape and abuse of a child in 2003 in connection with his employment at Outward Bound in Boston, he said. He was sentenced to 3½ years of probation, according to the Maine Sex Offender Registry, which he was on for 10 years until recently.

With Friday’s conviction, Fahnley will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The boy’s mother testified Wednesday that Fahnley was a longtime family friend. She said she sent her son from their home in Massachusetts in August 2008 to help Fahnley cut and stack wood after he told her he was sick and could not prepare for winter.

She said her son did not tell her about the sexual abuse until after he turned 18 in September 2011.

An investigation was launched in Massachusetts the next month and the case was turned over to Lt. St. Laurent, who arrested Fahnley in December 2012.

The boy testified Wednesday that he considered Fahnley a father figure. He also said that he drank vodka, smoked cigarettes and consumed drugs, all provided by Fahnley, at Fahnley’s home. He got so sick he passed out and awoke to find Fahnley removing his clothes and pinning him down before performing a sexual act on him. He also said the behavior continued over time.

Robbins called Fahnley a sexual predator who uses alcohol, drugs and gifts to get what he wants.

Defense attorney Kevin Joyce said in his closing argument to the jury that the boy gave inconsistent statements to police and on the witness stand. He also said that during family visits to Fahnley’s home the boy’s mother did not see any concerns.

After the jury was released from duty, the boy’s older brother addressed the court.

“When I was young I was abused by John for a long time,” he said. “I was able to, somehow, distance myself from this but never released the burden. I just felt it was my problem, my burden.”

He didn’t want to tell anyone because of how they felt about Fahnley, he said. He finally did speak to his girlfriend 2½ years ago about the abuse, and she told him he needed to say something. He told his brother he could not allow him to visit Fahnley’s home anymore, he said.

“My abuse was not as severe as my brother’s. It did have its emotional toll on me and it did last for a long time. I do not really believe in revenge but I do believe that people are dangerous and sometimes can’t be helped,” he said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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