Madrid Township man’s sexual assault trial to continue Thursday

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FARMINGTON — The trial of a Madrid Township man accused of sexually assaulting and abusing a teenage boy in 2008 and 2009 began Wednesday morning in Franklin County Superior Court.

John A. Fahnley, 59, was indicted in 2013 on one felony count of gross sexual assault and two felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Franklin County sheriff’s Detective Lt. David St. Laurent arrested him in December 2012. Fahnley posted $25,000 cash bail to get out of jail.

The boy did not reveal what happened to him until after his 18th birthday in September 2011, according to his mother.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins said in opening statements to the jury that Fahnley was an old family friend of the victim’s family. The boy was under the age of 16 and from Massachusetts when the incidents occurred, he said.

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The teenager will say he has known Fahnley all of his life, Robbins said. He was visiting Fahnley at his Madrid Township home in August 2008, drinking alcohol and passed out. He will say he awoke to find Fahnley removing his belt and pulling down his pants and that Fahnley performed a sex act on him, Robbins said.

Defense attorney Kevin Joyce told the jury that Fahnley has lived in Madrid Township for decades. He is a professional photographer and musician and currently cares for his mother.

“Today is the most important day in John Fahnley’s life,” Joyce said.

St. Laurent testified Wednesday that he was given a packet of information from the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office on Oct. 28, 2012, and began an investigation. He listened to interviews recorded by a Massachusetts State Police detective and read information provided. The case had gone to the Massachusetts detective in October 2011.

St. Laurent said he spoke to the boy’s mother in November 2012, John Fahnley in December 2012 and the teenager in May 2013.

Joyce asked St. Laurent if he had searched Fahnley’s house to determine if indications in statements of a hidden room with nude pictures of boys was there.

St. Laurent said he hadn’t applied for a warrant to search Fahnley’s house because he didn’t think he would get one due to the length of time between the incidents and when they were reported.

Joyce also pointed out to St. Laurent discrepancies between what the boy told Massachusetts police and what he told St. Laurent.

The boy said the same things all the way through his interview with him, St. Laurent said.

The boy’s mother testified Wednesday that she had considered Fahnley a close family friend. He offered her emotional support and was very generous to her children. He also helped the family out financially during a bad time, she said.

“I felt that he was somebody who actually cared about my family,” she said.

She described Fahnley as someone who could be the life of the party and be subdued and hostile.

She said she let two of her sons help Fahnley in August 2008 when he told her he was sick and couldn’t get ready for winter. She offered to go help, she said, but he refused.

When her son returned home he became quite withdrawn and would be very still, shaking at times, she said. He was depressed and suicidal, she said.

She said she asked Fahnley for advice and he encouraged her son to return to Maine.

When her son was 15, she found cigarettes in his belongings that Fahnley bought for him, she said. She and Fahnley argued about it, she said.

She testified she had not seen anything to be concerned about when the family visited Fahnley on New Year’s Eve 2010.

The trial is scheduled to continue at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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