BERLIN, N.H. (AP) – A Roman Catholic priest convicted last year of raping three altar boys in Dover has died.

The Rev. Joseph Maguire died Wednesday in Berlin, about 10 months after he began serving a 44-year prison term. He was 73. Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons said Maguire died of natural causes.

Maguire was convicted on 36 felony counts of abusing boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s at St. Joseph parish in Dover. He acknowledged abusing boys in Dover hotel rooms, during overnight trips and at St. Joseph’s rectory.

Maguire spent three days at the Berlin hospital last month, returning to prison Jan. 31, Lyons said.

Maguire was ordained in 1973 and served in parishes around the state, including Hudson, Manchester, Whitefield and Dover. Prosecutors have said Maguire’s serial abuse began with a 9-year-old altar boy at his first assignment at Somersworth’s Holy Rosary Church in 1973 and included at least 10 boys over 30 years.

Prosecutors said Maguire lived in Massachusetts, Ireland and Maine after leaving New Hampshire and returned during the early 1980s for visits.

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