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Mothers testify in day 2 of child porn trial

Two mothers called as defense witnesses for a former area baseball coach accused of molesting children and making sexually inappropriate videos of one boy said yesterday their own sons had only positive experiences with the coach.

But both women testified that they wouldn’t have allowed Robert Joubert, 59, to coach their sons had they known a boy had accused Joubert years earlier of inappropriate touching. And one of the mothers, Donna Newcombe of Loudon, was visibly surprised to learn four men testified in federal court Wednesday that Joubert had sexually assaulted them as children.

“It’s shocking,” Newcombe said. “Wow. I would never have expected anything like that.”

Joubert, who coached youth baseball in Concord and Hillsboro, is on trial in U.S. District Court in Concord on four charges: one count of possessing child pornography and three counts of sexually exploiting a child by allegedly videotaping a boy while making the boy engage in sexually explicit conduct.

Joubert, of Manchester, is also awaiting trials in Hillsborough and Merrimack counties for allegedly sexually assaulting four boys between 1984 and 2002. And Joubert is scheduled for a second trial in federal court for allegedly taking a juvenile male to New York between 1996 and 1997 to engage in sexual activity.

On Wednesday, jurors in Joubert’s federal trial saw the sexually explicit videos federal prosecutors said he made of a Hillsboro boy between 2002 and 2004. Yesterday, jurors heard from the parents of the alleged victim, who is now 21.

The Monitor is not identifying the parents to protect the identity of the alleged victim, who was 9 when he met Joubert in 2002. Joubert was coaching the boy’s Hillsboro baseball team.

Joubert took an interest in the boy and began training him privately, with the mother’s blessing, she said. When Joubert said he’d like to be a mentor to the boy, the mother agreed, in part because she and her husband were divorced and she thought the attention would be good for her son, she said.

In 2003, Joubert moved into the mother’s Hillsboro home as a tenant. She welcomed Joubert’s rent and the baseball training Joubert provided her son, she said. Soon, though, the mother became concerned that Joubert had become “obsessed” with her son, she said.

He was always videotaping inside the house, she said. Jurors have seen videos Joubert allegedly made of the boy simply watching television.

“It just became bizarre,” the mother said. “He’d stand outside the bathroom door when (my son) was going to the bathroom. It was ridiculous.”

Joubert also wanted to join her son when he slept overnight at friends’ houses, the woman said.

The woman demanded Joubert move out in the summer of 2004, after she caught Joubert headed up the stairs to her son’s bedroom late one night, she said. When she confronted Joubert, he became angry and said he was only bringing the boy a pillow.

The woman recalled Joubert’s reaction when she told him he had to leave.

“I had never really thought of Bob as a pedophile,” she said. “I though he was just very disturbed and emotionally unbalanced. I was telling him calmly (that he had to leave) and I said, ‘I think you need help.’ He blew up and said, ‘Are you calling me a f------ pedophile? Don’t ever call me a f------ pedophile. If you call me a f------ pedophile, I’ll sue your a--.’ ”

The woman said Joubert’s reaction surprised her because she had not used the word pedophile.

Joubert’s federal public defender, Bjorn Lange, urged jurors in his opening statement to question whether prosecutors have enough evidence to prove Joubert made the sexually explicit videos in question.

Yesterday, Lange continued to raise that question, asking the mother about the men she dated and whether they had access to the video camera when they visited. The mother said she had not seen anyone but Joubert use the video camera.

Lange is expected to call his final witnesses today, after which both sides will make closing arguments before the case goes to the jury.

(Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323, atimmins@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)

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