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Mashpee Wampanoag leader stepping aside

Acknowledges conviction, lies

By Anna Badkhen and Sally Jacobs
Globe Staff / August 25, 2007

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Glenn Marshall, the Mashpee Wampanoag leader who secured federal recognition for the tribe and presided over its push to build a $1 billion casino in Massachusetts, stepped aside yesterday after acknowledging that he was a convicted rapist and that he had lied to Congress about his military service during the Vietnam War.

In an interview with the Globe, Marshall, 57, wept as he apologized for repeatedly lying about his past and announced that he was temporarily handing over his responsibilities as chairman of the tribe council to his vice chairman, Shawn Hendricks, "so I can deal with the mental and physical issues I'm facing."

"It's an apology to my family, tribe, and the Commonwealth," said Marshall, sobbing and wiping tears with a paper napkin. "I could only ask that they could forgive me, because I'm not a bad person."

Marshall also said he had been convicted for cocaine possession, lied about working as a police officer, and had allowed his supporters to lie about prestigious military decorations. Marshall said he intended to resume his duties as chairman but would not say when.

The developments come at a crucial time for his tribe's project to build the first casino in the state in Middleborough. But town, tribe, and state officials said his absence would not affect the project.

"The agreement is between the tribe and the town, not between Glenn Marshall and the town," said Adam Bond, a Middleborough selectman who worked closely with Marshall during negotiation for town backing for the tribe's plan to open a casino there.

To open a full-fledged casino, the tribe needs approval for expanded gambling in Massacusetts from Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature. And it must negotiate an agreement with the Patrick administration to determine the share of revenue that would go to the state.

Patrick is expected to announce his position on gambling around Labor Day.

A spokeswoman for Patrick, Rebecca Deusser, said the governor's decision will not be affected by revelations about Marshall.

"The governor is still on track to make his decision about gaming," Deusser said. "We're not going to comment on Mr. Marshall."

Marshall's admissions about his past came after the Cape Cod Times reported on Friday that Marshall was convicted in 1981 of raping a 22-year-old visitor to the Cape in 1980 and that he told a congressional oversight committee considering federal recognition for the Mashpee Wampanoag in 2004 that he had survived the siege of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War.

Marshall said yesterday that he joined the Marines in September 1968, several months after the historic 77-day battle between US forces and the North Vietnamese had ended.

Asked whether he was at Khe Sahn, Marshall said: "No, not for the siege."

During his quest for federal recognition for the tribe, Marshall and his supporters repeatedly referred to his survival of the siege.

In 2003, US Representative John T. Doolittle of California wrote a letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in support of federal recognition and highlighted Marshall's service as a hero of the battle.

Doolittle's spokesman, Gordon Hinkle, said yesterday that the congressman was saddened about Marshall's lies, but said that Doolittle still supported the tribe's fight for recognition.

Marshall also acknowledged that a newspaper report last week that he had been awarded five Purple Hearts and one Silver Star for his service in Vietnam was not true. Yesterday, The Day of New London, Conn., reported that a legal adviser for Marshall had told the newspaper that Marshall had earned the medals. The Day quoted a Marine Corps spokeswoman saying he never received any top awards for valor.

In yesterday's Globe interview, Marshall said he did not dispute the newspaper's original account after it ran Aug. 18. Asked why, he said: "I don't know."

Marshall also said he had lied about employment in Massachusetts during the 1970s. He told a Globe Sunday Magazine interviewer in July that he was a police officer with a specialty in weapons in Norfolk County. In its Aug. 18 profile, The Day reported that Marshall had worked as a police officer for the former Metropolitan District Commission in Boston and as an investigator for the Plymouth district attorney's office.

Yesterday, Marshall said he had done none of those. He said he had hoped to become a policeman, but never did. He said that he had worked undercover, working for the Plymouth and Norfolk district attorneys' offices to bring down gangs dealing weapons and drugs. He declined to be more specific about his position or whether he was paid.

Neither the Plymouth nor the Norfolk district attorneys offices has a record of his employment.

Marshall said he felt that describing that job as a police officer gave him more credibility.

In the Globe interview, Marshall also acknowledged his rape conviction. He was sentenced to serve five years in Concord State Prison. He served 61 days and was released on two years probation, according to court records.

Marshall refused to discuss the rape case. The Cape Cod Times, citing its own archives and court records, reported the conviction was for raping an Illinois woman in West Barnstable.

During his probation, Marshall said, he was arrested for cocaine possession, sentenced to a fine of under $500, and released. He said he has been arrested twice since then, once for fishing without a license in Bourne, and once for receiving stolen property when he bought a boat motor. Both episodes took place in the 1990s, and charges were dismissed, he said.

Asked whether there had been any other arrests, Marshall replied: "Not that I remember."

Globe correspondents Ryan Haggerty, Christine Wallgren, and Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe staff contributed to this report.