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Ex-coach Joubert responds to sex abuse allegations in recording

As Concord detectives investigated sexual assault allegations against a youth baseball coach, one of the accusers agreed to wear a wire and confront Robert Joubert, the man he said abused him as a child.

“You can’t look at me in the eye and tell me that you didn’t do anything with me. Am I right?” the man asked during the June 2012 conversation, according to an excerpt filed in court.

“I’m ashamed of a lot of things I did,” Joubert replied.

The police say Joubert never denied the abuse.

Two weeks later, they used the conversation as part of an affidavit seeking permission to search the Manchester home where Joubert was living. That request was granted. Joubert, 59, was arrested soon after and is now facing accusations of sexually abusing five people, charges that span two decades and are being prosecuted in state and federal courts.

The man who recorded his conversation, and who has remained in contact with Joubert for the nearly 30 years since he says he was abused, was central to the police’s investigation, the affidavit shows. That document is now on file at U.S. District Court in Concord, where Joubert is charged with filming pornography of one of his victims and abusing another while on a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., sometime in 1996 or 1997.

The affidavit includes accounts from several men who claim to have been abused by Joubert when they were young as well as parents who questioned the coach’s close contact with their children.

The Concord police began investigating Joubert in May 2012, two months after officials in York, Maine, began their own investigation. Joubert’s baseball academy was based in York.

In early June 2012, Concord police Detective Sean Ford, along with an FBI investigator and an employee of the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office, interviewed the 37-year-old man who would later agree to confront Joubert.

According to the affidavit, the man said Joubert abused him twice, once when he was 9 years old and again when he was 11. The assaults, according to the affidavit, were “masturbatory in nature.”

On the day he spoke with investigators, the man also brought a computer tower to the Concord police station and claimed that it belonged to Joubert, according to the affidavit. The man said that about a week prior he had helped him move out of an apartment in Lee and into Joubert’s parents’ home in Manchester.

“(The witness) said (Joubert) was anxious because he was being investigated by the FBI,” the affidavit says. “(The man) advised that (Joubert) asked him how to destroy the hard drive on his computer.”

According to the police, Joubert didn’t believe “cleaning” the hard drive would do enough. He wanted to destroy it, telling the man that the hard drive had “client” and financial information on it.

Joubert tore apart the computer, according to the affidavit.

“After Robert Joubert finished removing components from the computer tower, he discarded it on the porch, stating that it was ‘garbage,’ ” the affidavit reads.

He didn’t demolish the pieces, leaving several components stacked on a table and the tower “on top of a recycling bin,” according to the affidavit.

The man took several of those components and gave them to Ford, who noted in his affidavit that he hadn’t been directed by investigators to do so.

About a week after his interview with the police, the man agreed to record his conversation with Joubert. In the affidavit, Ford says Joubert “made no denials, apologized and became emotional” when confronted about the abuse.

The lawyer representing Joubert on the federal charges, though, has disagreed with that characterization.

The full transcript of Joubert and his accuser’s conversation is sealed from public view. But in court documents Attorney Bjorn Lange quotes Joubert as saying “No. No.” when the man asks him about the abuse.

The two sides disagree on what Joubert was denying. Lange believes it was abuse of the man who had confronted him. A prosecutor has argued Joubert was denying having abused another man who was also discussed during the recorded conversation.

Evidence contested

Lange has taken issue with other aspects of the affidavit written by Ford and accused the detective of either wilfully or recklessly leaving out information that would have caused a judge to pause before granting permission to search Joubert’s home.

He’s asked a judge to keep all the evidence found at the home – including stacks of documents, VHS tapes, an audio recorder, a laptop, floppy disks, team rosters and sports equipment – out of Joubert’s trial.

Prosecutors have objected to the motion. A hearing on the matter will be held Monday.

In Lange’s motion, he says Ford listed “a litany of allegations that Joubert engaged in sexual abuse and inappropriate contacts with minors,” but failed to note that he was never convicted. Furthermore, he said the detective showed no link between those allegations – which range from 1984 to 2004 – and what would be found at Joubert’s Manchester home during the search.

Lange also questioned why Ford wrote that the witness who brought them the computer believed there would be child pornography on it but didn’t include the man’s statement that he never saw any child pornography in Joubert’s home.

In responding to Lange’s motion, Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Fitzgibbon said it’s not true that Ford failed to disclose that the earlier allegations against Joubert never resulted in convictions. She pointed to a section of the affidavit where the woman who made the initial report to the York Police Department said the claims “fell short of a formal conviction.”

She argued that while Ford didn’t include the man’s statement about never seeing child pornography at the home, the detective didn’t imply that any would be found there. And she pointed out that Ford included Joubert’s own explanation for wanting to destroy the computer, that there was financial information on it.

She also said detectives weren’t looking for child pornography during the search. They did believe they would find evidence of sexual assaults, according to Fitzgibbon, who said Ford presented evidence to back up that claim.

She pointed to a section of the affidavit where another one of the accusers detailed being abused while on a trip with Joubert. Ford also referenced several parents who had complained about Joubert taking pictures or recording video of their children.

“Based on all of these reports, there was probable cause to believe the police would find photographs, videotapes, evidence of travel and evidence of relationships with minors which would corroborate the various witness accounts,” Fitzgibbon wrote.

Three of Joubert’s trials, one in federal court and two in Merrimack County Superior Court, are scheduled for June. He’s also facing charges in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)

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