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Man Charged with Sexually Abusing Daughter Wife Went To Jail To Protect

March 23, 1988

EXETER, N.H. (AP) _ A man has been charged with molesting his young daughter during court- ordered visitation sessions that his wife had gone to jail in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Mark Russell Murabito, 33, was indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury on a charge of felonious sexual assault against the daughter, now 5 years old, said County Attorney Carleton Eldredge.

The indictment last week came almost exactly a year after Superior Court Judge Douglas Gray granted Murabito and his wife, Jesse, a divorce and said he found no evidence to back her accusations that Murabito had sexually abused his daughter during 1986.

She had spent a week in jail in February 1987 for hiding her children despite an earlier court order granting her husband supervised visitation.

In the March 1987 divorce decree, Gray granted the father unsupervised visitation with the girl and her brother, now 3 1/2 , every other weekend, every other holiday, one evening per week and two weeks in the summer.

Eldredge gave no details on the charge but said it was ″based upon a course of conduct″ since last March.

Murabito was expected to turn himself in to authorities on Wednesday. As a condition of bail, Eldredge said he will ask that Murabito be barred from seeing his children.

Murabito’s lawyer, Raymond Kellett, said Tuesday that his client would plead innocent.

″It is evident that she will do anything and everything to keep the children from Mr. Murabito,″ Kellett said of his client’s ex-wife.

Mrs. Murabito would not comment on the indictment, other than saying the case was ″not Murabito vs. Murabito. This is the state of New Hampshire vs. Mr. Murabito.″

She has tried for nearly two years to convince the courts and child welfare officials that her ex-husband was molesting their daughter.

Gray could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening; there was no home telephone listing in New Hampshire for a Douglas Gray.

In February 1987, Gray made good on a threat to jail Mrs. Murabito, now 39, if she did not obey a court order to let her husband see the children during supervised visits.

Gray ordered Mrs. Murabito jailed after she refused to tell where she had hidden the children. A week later, he released her after she agreed to allow supervised visits pending a hearing.

In the subsequent order of March 20, 1987, in which Murabito was granted unsupervised visits, Gray said Mrs. Murabito and experts she called as witnesses during a seven-day hearing had failed to prove allegations that Murabito sexually abused the daughter after Mrs. Murabito sought a divorce in late 1985.

Gray said Mrs. Murabito’s chief witness, the children’s psychiatrist since spring 1986, based many of her assertions on hearsay. Mrs. Murabito had said she contacted the psychiatrist when she noticed the children were losing sleep and weight and becoming irritable.

A court-appointed psychologist found no evidence of sexual abuse and said actions by the father that had been construed by others as abuse could be interpreted otherwise.

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