Prosecutor: Former Concord cop repeatedly assaulted girls at Northfield recreation center; more victims possible 

  • Pines Community Center

  • Pines Community Center

  • Robert Magoon, a73-year-old former maintenance worker at a Northfield community center, is arraigned in Franklin’s district court via video.

  • Franklin District Court judge Edward Gordon listens to the bail recomendations for defendent Robert Magoon by the prosecutor Tuesday morning, May 24,2016. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 5/24/2016 12:36:43 PM

A former Concord police officer accused of sexually assaulting two young girls at a Northfield community center could face more charges as other alleged victims come forward, prosecutors said.

Robert Magoon, a 73-year-old Tilton resident, appeared in Franklin’s district court on Tuesday by video, wearing a blue smock, to face three charges of aggravated sexual assault, all felonies.

Magoon is accused of fondling and groping two young girls while working as maintenance supervisor at Pines Community Center in Northfield between Aug. 24, 2014, and May 12. Magoon engaged in “pattern sexual assault” against the two girls, ages 8 and 11, according to court documents.

“Some of these acts of sexual abuse occurred after a separate victim came forward months ago and disclosed inappropriate contact with him,” Assistant County Attorney Susan Larrabee said. “Even after he was spoken to, he continued to sexually abuse these two victims, and we believe much more.”

The two girls were assaulted by Magoon during the Pines Community Center’s before- and after-school program, she said. Magoon, who has been a custodian at the recreation center for more than a decade, touched the young girls beneath their clothing as they sat “cuddling” on his lap, Larrabee said.

“We are currently investigating multiple additional victims,” Larrabee said.

She added that Magoon’s conduct shows a “brazen” disregard for rules.

“He is a former police officer who is well aware of the serious nature of these allegations as well as the consequences of these allegations,” Larrabee said.

Magoon worked as a Concord police officer until 1987, according to a department spokesman.

Investigation, reaction

Outside the courthouse Tuesday, Northfield police Chief John Raffaelly said his department has been actively investigating Magoon for “a few weeks now.”

He said Magoon has no prior criminal history, though an earlier investigation into similar accusations was opened last year. No charges were brought forward as a result.

Police say the documents from that investigation are sealed as part of the current, ongoing inquiry into Magoon’s behavior. The Merrimack County attorney’s office is assisting with the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Pines Community Center remains open and fully functional. Executive Director Jim Doane said Tuesday that safety and security of the Pines Center’s participants is the top priority.

“Robert Magoon no longer works for the Tilton-Northfield Recreation Council,” Doane said, referring to the nonprofit organization that manages the facility. “We’ve added additional staff, and we’re locking the doors in the morning.”

Magoon’s last day was May 12, Doane said. He said he couldn’t comment on whether the recreation center was informed of the earlier police investigation into Magoon.

“We’re working with the Northfield Police Department on any safety issues,” he said.

The Tilton-Northfield Recreation Council board will meet to discuss how to proceed. Doane also said the Merrimack County attorney’s office is setting up public meetings for parents and the community.

“That’ll be a chance for questions and answers – that’s what’s coming next,” he said.

The Pines, which runs on appropriations from Tilton and Northfield, as well as program fees, is now in touch with parents regarding Magoon’s arrest and charges.

“We’re already contacting the parents and the parents are contacting us,” Doane said.

While some community members have been reacting to the alleged sexual abuse on social media and criticizing Pines, not every parent was alarmed.

Dressed in his Market Basket jacket, shirt and tie, 28-year-old Northfield dad Graylle Tower said the charges against the former custodian didn’t necessarily change his mind about the Pines Community Center.

“It doesn’t really bother me – I came here as a kid,” Tower said, as he picked up his 8-year-old son from the recreation center Tuesday. “Everyone usually judges by one person’s mistakes.”

Held on bail

Magoon was held on $150,000 cash, which was first set Monday after he was arrested and brought to Merrimack County jail. Magoon poses an “immediate and serious danger” to the community, Larrabee said.

If he is able to post bail, Magoon will be required to wear an electronic tracking device and will be required to abstain from alcohol and un-prescribed drugs, possessing firearms, going anywhere near the community center or his alleged victims, or having contact with any children under the age of 18.

When asked by Judge Edward Gordon, Magoon – who decided to not have legal representation for Tuesday’s appearance – did not object to the conditions.

Magoon is scheduled to appear for a probable cause hearing at Concord’s district court on May 31 at 1:30 p.m. He has submitted paperwork for a court-appointed attorney in the meantime.

(Elodie Reed can be reached at 369-3306, or on Twitter @elodie_reed.)

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