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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Magno's death sends shock waves through town


The death of former high school teacher Joseph Magno has sent shock waves through Maynard, a town that was anxiously awaiting his trial on charges that he sexually abused students.

For some, it ends a painful episode after a torrent of allegations surfaced about the man who taught at Maynard public schools for 43 years. Others, however, feel that through death, the 66-year-old Magno cheated justice.

"I am not happy that I won't be able to stare him down in court," said Walter Trachim, 44, in a telephone interview. The New Hampshire man has filed a police report accusing Magno of molesting him repeatedly beginning in 1974, when he was 12-years-old.

"I am not happy he escaped justice by dying," said Trachim, who transferred from Maynard High School before graduating. "Those who rely on faith may say that he is already facing judgment."

Magno faced 18 counts of child rape and indecent assault and battery after a 17-year-old accused him last year of sexually assaulting him over a three-year period, beginning when he was 13 years old in 2001. Since then, prosecutors say 14 other men have come forward alleging similar sexual abuse dating back four decades.

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-- Melissa Beecher

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