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Convicted Child Rapist Withdraws From Constable Race

March 2, 1989

CARVER, Mass. (AP) _ A convicted child rapist who created a stir by running for his old job as town constable withdrew from the race today.

August Barros, 66, ″submitted a letter requesting that his nomination papers be withdrawn″ from the April 8 election, said Bernadette Hemingway, town clerk.

A woman answering the telephone at Barros’ home confirmed Barros had withdrawn but referred further questions to the town clerk.

Barros was a town constable from 1982 until 1987, when he pleaded guilty to two counts of raping a child and was sentenced to a year in prison.

A constable receives no salary, has no police powers and spends his days delivering summonses and complaints, but some in this town of 10,300 were against a felon holding the post.

He was one of five candidates in the race; two filed after learning that Barros would have won one of the three offices automatically unless he faced opposition.

Massachusetts law forces elected officials to resign when convicted of felonies, but nothing prevents them from seeking office when they get out of prison.

The details of Barros’ crimes were reported in local newspapers at the time of his conviction and were reprinted after he became a candidate on Feb. 9.

But the state’s controversial Criminal Offender Record Information law barred police or the district attorney’s office from discussing the case.

The law was designed to protect the privacy of former criminals so they might re-enter society without the stigma of being ex-convicts.

But others say the law denies the public the right to know what becomes of criminals even before they are rehabilitated. Gov. Michael S. Dukakis has sought legislation to allow more public access to the records.

Barros said in Wednesday’s Boston Herald that he would not have become a candidate if he had known the fuss it would cause.

″Nobody here knows how the conviction came down,″ he said. ″I admitted to it and I paid my dues. ... I’m trying to forget about what I did.″