Richard DeCato Jr, William A DeCato

Over the years of researching the Allenstown case, the related duo of Richard and William DeCato have been mentioned to us repeatedly. With Richard's link to Freddie Comtois and the murder of Steven Mitchell and William's Pembroke rapes, people wonder if they could have anything to with the Allenstown case.

Question re. Richard:
a) When he was on the run from 1982 to 1990, could he have hooked up with a woman with several daughters?
b) Is he the uncle of William and did William ever work for him? 
c) Is it his son who lived in Suncook (Allenstown) in 1992?

 

Questions re. William:  
a) Did he ever have children? 
b) His behavior in the 2009 rape: breaking in the window of a stranger to him, stating he would kill the woman, disposing of evidence after the rape, etc reflect a long and violent history. What other crimes does he have to his name that are still unknown?




Drug Defendant, Missing for 8 Years, Arrested in Maine
GLENN WALLACE Union Leader [Manchester NH] August 16, 1990




A Manchester man who vanished eight years ago after being indicted on drug charges has been arrested in Wells, Maine, Manchester police said yesterday.

Richard
DeCato Jr., 33, was involved in two marijuana arrests in 1981 and 1982 and also was wanted on a charge of receiving stolen property. He fled before he could be brought to trial.

DeCato faces a variety of charges in Maine, after which local authorities will attempt to return him to New Hampshire. Upon his return, DeCato will be facing charges including possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, and possession of more than one pound of a controlled substance.

''We'd like to see him face all that he has to face up there first. We're content to wait for them to finish with him before we bring him back here,'' said Deputy Police Chief Paul Brodeur.

Brodeur said authorities also are investigating other leads regarding
DeCato's activities before and after he disappeared, but he declined to detail those probes.

According to Manchester police,
DeCato, who was using a false name, was stopped for speeding last Friday in Wells. He subsequently was arrested for driving under the influence.

The arresting officer, noticing a large quantity of cash on the seat of the pickup
DeCato was driving, searched the cab and uncovered $22,000 in cash and a .25 caliber handgun.

Brodeur said Maine authorities told him
DeCato, along with being charged with giving a false name and drunk driving, also might be charged with drug trafficking under a Maine law that allows the state to link DeCato's possession of the weapon and cash to alleged past drug activities.

Local records show
DeCato was arrested April 21, 1981, after a police search of his residence at 4 Spring Valley St. turned up about 15 pounds of marijuana. He was indicted on felony charges in connection with that arrest.

On Aug. 31, 1982, police raided the same address and found 37 pounds of marijuana, a small block of hashish and several hypodermic needles.

In October, 1982,
DeCato was named in secret felony indictments charging him with several drug offenses in connection with the August raid.

By then,
DeCato, who was out of jail on bond, already had fled New Hampshire, Brodeur said.

Police over the years received several tips placing
DeCato in various states, including Florida. More recently, he was believed to be somewhere in Maine, but his actual whereabouts were unknown until his arrest Friday, Brodeur said. 



 



Manchester Man Subject of Massive Drug Investigation
GLENN WALLACE Union Leader September 28, 1990

 



A Manchester man whose arrest last month in Maine ended eight years on the run as a fugitive from felony drug charges is now the subject of a massive investigation involving at least four federal agencies and local police in three states.

In addition, Richard DeCato Jr., 34, whose last known local address was 4 Spring Valley Road, has been linked to a multimillion-dollar drug trafficking ring allegedly run out of Lowell, Mass., by Lionel Laliberte of Hudson.

That drug ring was dismantled by federal authorities and Hudson and Lowell police in 1988. A federal appeals court earlier this year approved the forfeiture to the government of more than $15 million in Massachusetts properties owned by Laliberte and several associates.

Laliberte is currently awaiting trial on drug conspiracy and tax evasion charges.

A similar fate may await DeCato, who is currently being held without bail in Maine. According to allegations by The Internal Revenue Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and local police in Manchester, Maine and Massachusetts, authorities believe DeCato has played a major role in drug distribution in New England.

''It's going to end up involving millions of dollars. We believe DeCato is a major player in the East Coast drug trade, from Florida to Maine,'' said Deputy Chief Paul Brodeur of the Manchester police.

In the latest development, IRS agents assisted by Manchester police two weeks ago raided two local homes and a local business, State Scale, located at 155 Bemis St. They seized more than $70,000 in silver bars, silver coins from a sunken Spanish treasure ship, cash and assorted financial records authorities believe are related to drug trafficking.

Another local man, Patrick Cunan of 35 Morrison St., the owner of State Scale, was named in the federal affidavits as an associate of DeCato in the alleged drug trafficking. Cunan, however, was not arrested.

The raids here coincided with raids in Lowell and Maine. In Lowell, one man was arrested and seven pounds of marijuana was seized at a house believed to be owned by DeCato, according to Detective Eddy Davis of the Lowell police.

DeCato vanished from Manchester in 1982 while awaiting trial on felony drug charges. He was arrested on a motor vehicle charge in Wells, Maine, on Aug. 10, released on bail days later and then arrested again in Ogunquit, Maine, on Sept. 13 by federal authorities and Maine police.

DeCato is wanted by New Hampshire on felony indictments stemming from 1981 and 1982 drug raids at his home in which police seized a total of 52 pounds of marijuana.

According to sworn statements in affidavits in U.S. District Court in Concord filed by IRS special agent David Nicholson, authorities claim to have ''probable cause that...DeCato...and others have been trafficking in large quantities of controlled substances, laundering their drug proceeds into investmants in seemingly legitimate businesses, real estate and precious metals; filing false income-tax returns; trafficking in stolen property, machine guns and M-16 rifles; harboring a fugitive from justice; using seemingly legitimate businesses to carry on their criminal activities.''

Nicholson, in the affidavits, referred to the Laliberte case as the ''Lowell investigation,'' and stated that since 1988 he has developed ''significant evidence that over the past 10 years DeCato conspired with targets and defendants of the Lowell investigation and others to distribute narcotics.''

Brodeur said Manchester police are waiting for federal agents to transfer to them documents from the local raids so that police here can probe more deeply into DeCato's years in hiding.

''There is still a lot of work to be done. There's so much paperwork, it's mind-boggling. We now have to get hold of the documentation to get our local investigation rolling,'' he said. An IRS spokesman said federal authorities are continuing to evaluate the seized materials in order to determine what charges DeCato and Cunan might face.


 



Drug Suspect's Bail Revoked; Probe of '80 Murder Reopened
PAT GROSSMITH Union Leader September 18, 1991

 



Richard DeCato, the Manchester man police say is a major player in the East Coast drug trade, had his bail on two old drug charges revoked yesterday, and a judge was told the state is reopening investigation of a 1980 murder to which his name was connected.

DeCato never was indicted in the April 30, 1980, shooting death of Steven Mitchell of Auburn, even though it was alleged during the trials of two men convicted in the killing that DeCato had paid one of them to beat up Mitchell.

Yesterday, Hillsborough Assistant County Attorney David Horan requested that DeCato's bail on the drug charges dating back to 1981 and 1982 be revoked or set at $5 million. DeCato vanished before trial on those charges and was a fugitive for years.

Horan also told Superior Court Judge Linda S. Dalianis that the Attorney General's Office has reopened the investigation into Mitchell's death in light of DeCato's return to New Hampshire.

Mitchell, 23, was shot five times at point-blank range outside his 149 Old Candia Road residence on April 30, 1980.

Freddie Comtois, now 37, then of Allenstown, was convicted of first-degree murder. Raymond Glidden, now 43, then of Auburn, was convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder in the shooting.

During both trials, it was alleged that DeCato paid Comtois between $1,000 to $2,500 to beat up Mitchell.

Attorney Jeffrey A. Denner of Newton said that against his lawyer's advice DeCato testified before the grand jury which heard evidence in the Mitchell murder case.

''He actually went before the grand jury relative to what he knew and they chose not to indict him,'' Denner said. ''...If they (the state) were going to indict him on murder, they wouldn't be talking about it, they would have done it.''

Only hearsay, and not direct evidence, linked DeCato to the Mitchell killing, it was reported at the time of the trials, and he was never charged in connection with the case.

Yesterday's bail hearing concerned 1981 and 1982 charges involving possession of 51 pounds of marijuana brought against DeCato, 34.

DeCato vanished and was never brought to trial. Over the years, police received information that he was in Florida, Maine and New Hampshire, but it wasn't until his arrest in Maine last year on speeding charges that police caught up with him.

At that time, Maine police found about $20,000 in cash and a gun in the pickup truck he was driving. Bail, posted immediately, was set at $50,000, Horan said.

Federal authorities, however, kept DeCato under surveillance and later arrested him on a charge of being a fugitive in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty and was given a one-year sentence in a federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania.

When his sentence was up in August, he was returned to New Hampshire to face trial on the drug charges.

DeCato has been linked to a multi-million dollar drug trafficking ring allegedly run out of Lowell, Mass., by Lionel Laliberte of Hudson, who earlier this year was sentenced to 10 to 20 years on income tax evasion charges, two drug-related charges and one count of engaging in a career criminal enterprise, the so-called ''Drug Kingpin'' statute. DeCato is the subject of investigations by four federal agencies - the IRS, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - and local police in Manchester, Maine and Massachusetts. Horan said federal authorities are in the process of bringing charges of money laundering and income tax evasion against DeCato.

The charges on which he is being held stem from 1981 when Manchester Police executed a search warrant of DeCato's 4 Spring Valley St. home and recovered 21 pounds of marijuana and candlesticks reported stolen from a local church. On Aug. 31, 1982, police executed another search warrant of the same residence and seized another 30 pounds of marijuana.

In September, 1990, after his arrest in Maine, Internal Revenue Service agents assisted by Manchester police raided two local homes, including the residence of DeCato's father, and a local business, State Scale at 155 Bemis St.

They seized more than 1,300 pounds of silver, including $70,000 in silver bars, silver coins from a sunken ship, cash and assorted financial records authorities believe are related to drug trafficking. During the eight years DeCato eluded police, Horan said DeCato amassed ''literally millions of dollars from drug transactions.''

Denner, however, denied all allegations except for the bail jumping charge and asked the court to set bail at $250,000 real estate bond. He argued that the government had more than a year to file charges against his client and hadn't done so.

Denner also denied that his client was a ''drug dealer the federal government makes him out to be. If he is, then indict him.''

As for the 1980s drug charges, Denner said DeCato did not live in that residence. The drugs and stolen candlesticks, he said, were found in a house he was sub-letting to other individuals.

Dalianis said she would have a written order prepared by the afternoon.

''The bottom line is simple,'' she told DeCato. ''Bail revoked.'' 



 


Suspected Drug Dealer Negotiates Plea
NANCY MEERSMAN Union Leader[Manchester NH] July 9, 1992

 



Richard DeCato Jr., 36, considered by police a major player in the East Coast drug trade, has negotiated a plea with the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office, agreeing to serve five years.

Under the plea arrangement signed Monday, the prosecutor agreed to drop three 10-year-old drug complaints. In return,
DeCato agreed to plead guilty to bail jumping and two counts of receiving stolen property.

The drug cases were never tried because
DeCato disappeared, eluding police for eight years until he was arrested in Maine in August of 1990 in a routine traffic stop.

DeCato had been indicted in connection with the seizure by Manchester police of 52 pounds of marijuana in what were record drug busts at the time.

The sentence of four years in state prison for theft by unauthorized taking, plus one year in jail for bail jumping will be imposed after a background investigation is done - if the presiding Superior Court judge accepts the plea bargain.

Assistant County Attorney David Horan said yesterday that, as negotiations evolved, the defendant would only agree to plead guilty to the two counts of receiving stolen property, ''but once the five-year sentence was agreed upon, that's when the negotiated plea was accepted.''

Horan noted that the drug counts stemmed from 1981 and 1982 and the key Manchester police officers who investigated it are no longer with the department.

''The majority of the witnesses are no longer affiliated with the police department. The defendant was willing to plead guilty to a five-year sentence. That's a satisfactory penalty,'' said Horan.

DeCato, who at the time of the marijuana investigation was a resident of 4 Spring Valley Road, Manchester, has been linked to the multi-million-dollar drug trafficking ring that was operated out of Lowell, Mass., by convicted drug kingpin Lionel Laliberte of Hudson.

Deputy Police Chief Paul Brodeur has called
DeCato ''a major player in the East Coast drug trade from Florida to Maine.''

Affidavits filed in U.S. District Court in Concord by Internal Revenue Service authorities said they have probable cause to believe that
DeCato and others ''have been trafficking in large quantities of controlled substances, laundering their drug proceeds into investments in seemingly legitimate businesses, real estate and precious metals; filing false income tax returns; trafficking in stolen property, machine guns and M-16 rifles ...'' -----





DeCato Gets 5 Years in Plea Bargain


Union Leader [Manchester NH] October 27, 1992



Richard DeCato Jr., 39, who police consider a major player in the East Coast drug trade, was sentenced yesterday to five years on charges of bail jumping and receiving stolen property.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Carol Conboy, sitting in Manchester, accepted the negotiated plea under which the prosecutor agreed to drop three 10-year-old drug complaints involving more than 50 pounds of marijuana.

Assistant County Attorney David Horan said at the time the plea was negotiated that the drug counts stemmed from 1981 and 1982 and the key Manchester police officers who investigated it are no longer with the department.

Horan yesterday told the court that he anticipates DeCato will be indicted on other drug charges by the U.S. Attorney in Boston.

Under the agreement, DeCato was given one year in the county house of correction on the bail-jumping charge and a four-to-eight-year consecutive sentence on the other charge. At the same time, he was credited for 424 days of pre-trial confinement. Attorney Jeffrey A. Denner of Newton told the court that because the stolen property count occurred in 1981, DeCato's parole will be based on the laws in place at that time. DeCato, therefore, will be eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of the minimum sentence or less than three years.

The state drug charges, dating back more than 10 years, were never tried because DeCato disappeared, eluding police for eight years until he was arrested in Maine in August of 1990 in a routine traffic stop.

DeCato had been indicted in connection with the seizure by Manchester Police of 52 pounds of marijuana in what were record drug busts at the time. In 1981, police executed a search warrant of DeCato's 4 Spring Valley St. home and recovered 21 pounds of marijuana and candlesticks reported stolen from a local church. On Aug. 31, 1982, police executed another search warrnt of the same residence and seized another 30 pounds of marijuana.

In September 1990, after his arrest in Maine, Internal Revenue Service agents, assisted by Manchester police, raided two homes, including the residence of DeCato's father, and a local business, State Scale at 155 Bemis St.


They seized more than 1,300 pounds of silver, including $70,000 in silver bars, silver coins from a sunken ship, cash and assorted financial records authorities believe are related to drug trafficking.

DeCato is the subject of investigations by four federal agencies - the IRS, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

DeCato has been linked to the multi-million-dollar drug trafficking ring that was operated out of Lowell, Mass., by convicted drug kingpin Lionel Laliberte of Hudson.

Last week, Laliberte turned himself in to officials at the Federal Correctional Institution at Safford, Ariz., to begin serving his 10-year, one-month sentence.


Deputy Police Chief Paul Brodeur has called DeCato ''a major player in the East Coast drug trade from Florida to Maine.'' Affidavits filed in U..S. District Court in Concord by IRS authorities said they have probable cause to believe that DeCato and others ''have been trafficking in large quantities of controlled substances, laundering their drug proceeds into investments in seemingly legitimate businesses, real estate and precious metals; filing false income tax returns; trafficking in stolen property, machine guns and M-16 rifles.''




NH Man, Pair Indicted In Drug Scheme Union Leader [Manchester NH] February 17, 1993




BOSTON - A 38-year-old Manchester, N.H., man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges stemming from a three-state drug and money laundering scheme.

Richard J. Decato Jr. was charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion. He is already serving a four-year term in state prison on receipt of stolen property and fugitive from justice charges. Also indicted were Patrick and Patricia Cunan of Manchester.

Authorities allege Decato was the organizer of a criminal enterprise that spread throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine during his eight-year flight from justice.

The scheme involved substantial amounts of drug proceeds laundered through New Hampshire businesses and the purchase of parcels of land in Maine, New Hampshire and Florida, officials charge.

The Cunans are alleged to have provided the operations of State Scale Co., 155 Bemis Road, Manchester, to help Decato avoid detection by laundering of his drug operation's proceeds.

The 36-count indictment charges the Manchester trio with evading reporting requirements for transactions of more than $10,000 each by structuring the deposits at banks and financial institutions. The trio allegedly arranged the preparation of false tax returns to evade detection of the drug business.

The scheme included the formation of businesses known as People United development Trust and Prestige Precious metals to help conceal the huge proceeds derived from the marijuana and cocaine distribution from 1982 to 1990 while Decato was a fugitive from justice.

During that time Decato allegedly used the alias Richard Cunan and posed as Patrick Cunan's brother.

While posing as Cunan's brother, Decato allegedly acquired land and assets for with cash and cashier's checks obtained through drug proceeds. The land and other assets were placed in the name of Patrick S. Cunan and in the name of Prestige Precious Metals.

Throughout the scheme, the indictment charges, Decato told landowners, vendors, suppliers and other business people he contacted that he could be reached only by telephoning his ''brother, Patrick S. Cunan'' at State Scale Company in Machester.

The Cunans are charged with controlling the accounts into which drug proceeds were deposited.

They are also accused of listing Decato as an employee of State Scale and making payments to him as well as making his child support payments and the purchase of an automobile in June 1990, for Decato's then-common law wife.

Twelve parcels of real estate, including a 52-acre tract off Route 101 in Auburn, N.H., are among the properties being sought by the government in forfeiture proceedings.



 

 




Prison Inmate Pleads Innocent in Drug Case Union Leader [Manchester NH] February 18, 1993

 



BOSTON - Former fugitive Richard J. DeCato Jr. of Manchester pleaded innocent yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston to a multi-count indictment, charging him with drug trafficking, engaging in a criminal enterprise, money laundering and tax evasion.

DeCato, 38, serving a four-year sentence in the New Hampshire State Prison, was accompanied by deputy U.S. marshals during the brief hearing before federal magistrate Joyce London Alexander. DeCato's attorney, Jeffrey Denner, said his client had agreed to waive a bail or detention hearing.



According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank A. Libby Jr., the defendant was convicted of receipt of stolen property and being a fugitive from justice.

The indictment, returned earlier this month against Decato and a Manchester couple, alleges that during DeCato's 8-year flight from justice, he operated a large-scale marijuana and cocaine distribution ring in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

Named in the indictment as DeCato's co-conspirators are Patrick S. Cunan, 44, and Patricia A. Cunan, 42, both of 35 Morrison St., Manchester, N.H.

The Cunans, owners of State Scale Co. of 155 Bemis Road, Manchester, N.H., are accused of using their business and two ''shell'' businesses - People United Development Trist and Prestige Precious Metals - to help DeCato conceal substantial drug proceeds.

The Cunans allegedly listed DeCato, who posed as Patrick's brother and as an employee of State Scale Co. He allegedly acted as an intermediary in his contacts with suppliers, vendors and landowners, and purchased goods and property in his effort to ''launder'' the huge proceeds earned through his alleged drug distribution, officials said.

The Cunans are also accused of assisting DeCato in concealing his drug profits from the government through bogus income tax reports. The Cunans made earlier initial appearances beforeAlexander, who released each of them on $10,000 unsecured bail.

At the conclusion of yesterday's hearing, Alexander said that the case will go before federal Judge William Young, who has scheduled an April 26 trial date.



 



It Started as Routine Traffic Stop Union Leader [Manchester NH] May 16, 1993

 



WELLS, Maine (AP) - Darkness shrouded Route 1 in Wells as Officer Gerald Congdon drove south. At 3:45 a.m. Congdon saw the headlights of a white Isuzu Trooper. His radar blipped a 56. The speed limit was 35.

Another speeder. Perhaps an OUI. Ordinary. At least that's how it started.

What Congdon found was a bleary-eyed driver who had a loaded .25 caliber pistol and nearly $24,000 in cash stuffed beneath the seat. This was not just another traffic stop.

Three years later, after an exhaustive investigation, the driver, Richard J. DeCato Jr., stands indicted on 22 counts by a U.S. District Court grand jury in Boston for allegedly leading a drug-dealing and money-laundering scheme that stretched from Maine to Florida.

DeCato has pleaded innocent.

By the date of his arrest, August 10, 1990, DeCato had already been dodging drug charges in New Hampshire for more than eight years. The three-year investigation into what he had been doing during those years started that morning in Wells.

Standing outside the Isuzu, Congdon noticed that the man in the Hawaiian shirt, shorts and sandals had slightly bloodshot eyes and that his speech was slurred. When the man passed a field sobriety test, Congdon planned to send him up the road to get a cup of coffee and settle himself.

Routinely checking the license the man had given him, which was under the name Patrick S. Cunan, Congdon found it was suspended because a traffic fine hadn't been paid. He explained to the man that he would be arrested and taken back to the station. Congdon put the man he thought to be Cunan into the police car and went back to the Isuzu to make sure the keys had been removed. Out of the corner of his eye, Congdon saw his flashlight beam bounce across something on the floor of the back seat. A green wad of paper. Cash, and lots of it.

''That's when I knew that something wasn't as it seemed,'' Congdon says.

A search of the car turned up the cash and a loaded chrome-plated .25 caliber pistol wrapped in a handkerchief with an emblem from the rock band ''Twisted Sister.'' The car also contained a date book that showed what police figured to be records of drug transactions, a set of scales, a current set of New Hampshire license plates and several small pictures that police believe were to be used in creating false identification.

A drug-sniffing police dog was called in and, in the words of Wells Police Chief William Zackular, ''his head about spun off.''

Wells police held DeCato on several minor charges while they called the Maine DEA.

Richard Connelly at the MDEA called Manchester Police Department ''just for the heck of it'' to see if anyone there had heard of Patrick Cunan. Manchester's Deputy Chief Paul Brodeur knew Cunan and was immediately suspicious that the man in jail in York County wasn't Cunan.

For eight years Brodeur had sought a man tied to Cunan named Richard DeCato. Brodeur gave a description of DeCato and remembered that DeCato had an interest in karate. The man arrested in Wells had already boasted of his skill in karate. Brodeur called Cunan at his Manchester home. When Cunan answered, Brodeur knew that Wells police might finally have found DeCato.

At the jail, police again questioned the man. According to police reports, they told Decato that Patrick Cunan was at his home in Manchester. ''Who are you?'' they asked him. They told him who they thought he was. Finally, the man blurted out: ''OK, you got me. I'm Richard DeCato. You would have found out sooner of later anyhow....I'm glad it's over.''

As he signed papers in the jail, DeCato seemed relieved. ''It seems funny to sign my own name. It's been so long.''

DeCato was released on $50,000 cash bail a few weeks later. But in September, he was arrested by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on a weapons charge stemming from the gun found when he was arrested in Wells.

This time he wasn't allowed bail.

DeCato is now in a New Hampshire jail, serving time for prior charges of jumping bail and receiving stolen property. His federal trial is tentatively set for the fall. Police are reluctant to talk about the investigation into DeCato's activities since he has not yet been tried.

But the indictment along with affidavits filed after searches of property owned by DeCato and Cunan piece together what the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts believes was an extensive illegal business.

According to the indictment, even as DeCato fled Manchester in 1982 his drug business continued. The grand jury indictment charges DeCato in a conspiracy to possess and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 100 pounds of marijuana. DeCato was allegedly involved in a drug conspiracy that stretched from Lowell, Mass., to Manchester, N.H., and to Maine, including Waterboro, Limington, Wells and Biddeford.

Police believe DeCato kept large amounts of marijuana in storage lockers he rented in Arundel and Freeport. The indictment charges that in collecting ''large sums'' of money from trafficking marijuana and cocaine, DeCato and Cunan set up businesses by which they would launder the drug money.

Under names such as People United Development Trust and Prestige Precious Metals and Cunan's business, State Scale Co. of Manchester, N.H., Cunan and his wife, along with DeCato, used cash and cashier's checks obtained from drug dealing to purchase land, according to the indictment. The investigation turned up four tracts of land in York County, including two on Town House Road in Waterboro, one at Lake Arrowhead Estates in Waterboro and another on Beaverberry Road in Limington.

Investigators also discovered about 200 acres of land on Long Lake in Aroostook County, purchased in Cunan's name, and additional land in New Hampshire and Florida.

Peter DeRice, of the MDEA's forfeiture unit, said the Cunans and DeCato sold the York County properties for a little more than $500,000. The money is being held in escrow. If Cunan, his wife Patricia and DeCato are found guilty, the proceeds from the sale of the land will go to the government agencies involved in the investigation.

''It just shows you,'' Congdon says, ''that you never know who it is that you're going to run into.'' If nothing else, it is a lesson, Congdon says, for police to be vigilant, both for their own sake and for their responsibility to get criminals off the street.

Zackular said DeCato had been stopped by other police officers before he was finally captured. But, somehow, he had slipped away.

''He was laughing at us for eight years,'' Connelly said. ''If not for what happened that night, he could still be laughing.''



 



Two With NH Ties Added To Superseding Indictment Union Leader [Manchester NH] June 16, 1993



BOSTON - A 38-year-old Nashua man and a former Manchester resident have been added, in a 37-count superseding indictment returned last week at U.S. District Court, to three Manchester people earlier indicted on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion.

Named in the original indictment were Richard J. DeCato Jr., 35; Patrick S. Cunan, 44; and his wife, Patricia A. Cunan. DeCato, who is serving a four-to-eight-year term in New Hampshire State Prison for bail jumping and receipt of stolen property, is charged with organizing and managing cocaine and marijuana distribution operations from 1984 to 1990.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank A. Libby Jr., defendants Patrick and Patricia Cunan are charged with multiple counts involving conspiring, along with DeCato, to defraud the government by storing, laundering and concealing the substantial drug proceeds of DeCato's alleged drug trafficking enterprise. DeCato, who was a fugitive since August 1982 from pending New Hampshire state drug charges, was arrested in September 1990 for speeding in Wells, Maine. Attorney Libby said the Cunans, owners of State Scale Co. at 155 Bemis Road, Manchester, are accused of using their firm and two ''shell'' businesses - People United Development Trust and Prestige Precious Metals - to conceal from the U.S. government the huge drug proceeds being earned

by DeCato during his eight-year flight from justice, the indictment alleges.

Added defendants named in the superseding indictment are DeCato's father, Richard J. DeCato, who is now living in Florida, and Frederick R. Proulx, of 3 Woodgate St., Nashua. The elder DeCato is accused of storing and concealing in behalf of his son prior to September 1990, silver bars, silver ingots, precious coins and U.S. currency. He is charged with impeding the Internal Revenue Service from assessing the amount of his son's income.

Proulx is accused of committing perjury before a 1990 grand jury investigating Lionel ''Lennie'' LaLiberte's large-scale drug importation and distribution operation. According to the indictment, Proulx falsely denied ever seeing since-convicted LaLiberte in possession of marijuana. Importantly, the indictment asserts, during the same questioning Proulx falsely claimed he did not know and had never heard of Richard or Dick DeCato.

The final count of the indictment seeks forfeiture of the Cunans' wholly owned State Scale Co., which the indictment alleges was used in the DeCato money laundering. Also $5 million representing DeCato's drug proceeds which was used to purchase a parcel of waterfront land in Key West, Florida and 800 acres of lakefront property in the vicinity of Long Lake, in Aroostook County, Maine.

Some 50 acres of land, off Old Route 101 in Auburn, N.H., and real estate in Manchester are also among the 13 separate lots of property being sought for forfeiture to the government.



 



City Man's Mother Testifies In Money-Laundering Case Union Leader September 15, 1995



BOSTON - The mother of defendant Patrick Cunan of Manchester, N.H., testified yesterday in U.S. District Court she had no knowledge of a company said by the prosecution to have been used in laundering drug money.

Cunan and his wife, Patricia, are charged with conspiracy to defraud by laundering and concealing money obtained by convicted drug trafficker Richard DeCato Jr.

Cunan's mother, Geneva Adams, an accounts payable clerk at his State Scale Co., said she had heard of but didn't ''know anything about'' Prestige Precious Metals Inc. of 155 Bemis Road, Manchester, the same address of State Scale.

Adams identified a signature on a Prestige Precious Metals document as hers and described the handwriting as that of her daughter-in-law, Patricia Cunan.

She admitted to having prepared a listing of payments regarding Prestige Precious Metals.

According to the prosecution, several properties and merchandise bought by DeCato using the alias ''Patrick Cunan'' or ''Richard Cunan'' were billed to Prestige Precious Metals.

Admitted drug addict and trafficker Michael Brady of Windham testified most of the day yesterday, saying he had bought marijuana from DeCato from 1984 through the time DeCato was a fugitive from justice.

Brady said DeCato made purchases using the name ''Pat Cunan.'' When asked who Cunan was Decato said, ''He's my Paul McCann,'' referring to a real estate developer who laundered money for drug traffickers William Cloutier and Ronald LaLiberte.

Brady admitted being associated and later convicted with LaLiberte and Cloutier, heads of drug trafficking rings that operated in the late 1970s and early 1980s.



 



Family Takes Stand in Trial Of City Couple Union Leader September 16, 1995



BOSTON - Patrick S. Cunan's mother and sister-in-law sobbed yesterday while defending the Manchester, N.H., man during his trial on charges of laundering money from drug sales.

Cunan's wife, Patricia, is charged along with her husband of conspiring to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the drug proceeds of convicted drug trafficker Richard DeCato Jr.

They are being tried in U.S. District Court in Boston.

The Cunans were named along with DeCato in a 37-count indictment in June 1993, charging them with falsifying tax returns along with money laundering during the eight years DeCato was a fugitive from justice.

DeCato, formerly of Manchester, was arrested in Maine in 1990. He is serving a 4-to-8-year prison term for receiving stolen property and bail jumping.

Cunan's mother, Geneva Adams, broke out in tears yesterday when asked to describe her son's early business ventures and the growth of his Manchester-based State Scale Co.

''It started out in the basement of our home,'' said Adams. ''He became a workaholic and spent long hours on the job. He's a good person and I hope the jury sees that.''

Cosmo Giberti, a bail bondsman, testified that he provided bail to DeCato after a 1981 arrest and later was told the $10,000 in collateral for the bond was to be returned to ''a Patrick Cunan...in Manchester, New Hampshire.''

Deborah Paradis, Patricia Cunan's sister and DeCato's former wife, began crying when asked by Libby about a telephone call she received from DeCato after another arrest in 1982.

''He said, 'I'm not coming back' and asked me to go with him. I refused,'' said Paradis.

Paradis said DeCato set up a trust fund for each of their children through Patrick Cunan.

She testified that Cunan made monthly payments to her, which she picked up at State Scale offices. The checks, she said, were made from the Cunans' personal account and from the State Scale account.



 



Witnesses Say Cunans Knew Drug Trafficker Union Leader [Manchester NH] September 20, 1995

 




BOSTON - Prosecutors trying to tie the Manchester, N.H., couple Patrick and Patricia Cunan to the convicted major drug trafficker Richard J. DeCato Jr. yesterday aggressively questioned witnesses who knew them, including a Goffstown, N.H., resident who said both Patrick and Patricia knew DeCato.

The Cunan's are on trial in U.S. District Court for allegedly helping DeCato launder his drug profits.

DeCato is serving a 27-year prison sentence on guilty pleas to drug trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion in connection with a drug trafficking operation that stretched from Maine to Florida.

David Hall of Goffstown said in early 1984, while an employee of State Scale Company, which the Cunans operated, he heard Patricia mention Richard DeCato's name several times.

He recalled driving to Auburn, N.H., with Patrick Cunan, who directed him to stop at a piece of real estate he wanted to inspect.

''Stay in the truck,'' Hall remembered Patrick said and then Cunan walked up to a man on the property, spoke with him briefly and returned to the truck. A short while later, Hall testified, Patricia told him that the land had been deeded over to Patrick by ''someone who was leaving the area.'' The government alleges the property deeded to Cunan was bought with DeCato's drug proceeds.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Thomas Hoopes, Hall acknowledged he is the owner of a scale company and a competitor of the Cunans.

Thomas Philp of Merrimac testified that he knew Cunan because he had helped install scales with him as owner of Applied Engineering Inc.. He said he had hired a Donna Buswell after she told him Patrick Cunan had recommended her. Buswell, DeCato's girlfriend, went to work for Philp in 1990 shortly after DeCato was arrested, Philp testified, and she mentioned her boyfriend was in jail.

Philp said he had office space at State Scale and his record books were kept for him by Patrick's mother, Geneva Adams. When Philps was shown Applied Engineering gasoline receipts for Richard Cunan - an alias the government says DeCato was using - he testified he had never heard of Richard Cunan.

Testifying under immunity, Troy Rummery, describing himself as an urchin diver in Maine, said he met DeCato in 1987 at the age of 16 when he was hired to cut wood at DeCato's Waterbury, Maine, residence. Soon, he testified, he was delivering drugs and collecting money in various locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

Rummery said he and DeCato often piled the payoff money in large garbage bags. Occasionally they would wind up their work day at the Red Roof Inn in Nashua, where government prosecutors say, their room was reserved in the name of Patrick Cunan.

Rummery recalled carrying bags of gas receipts and other documented expenses to the State Scale Company on Bemis Road in Manchester where he handed them to a lady. He said Decato had told him they were for tax purposes.

Under cross-examination, Rummery admitted he once went by the name Bolduc, was a drug addict and had perjured himself before a grand jury when he denied ever knowing DeCato.

 




City Man Admits Helping Dealer Son Evade Taxes Union Leader [Manchester NH] November 4, 1995




BOSTON - The 69-year-old father of convicted Manchester, N.H., drug dealer Richard J. DeCato Jr., admitted to helping conceal his son's proceeds from the Internal Revenue Service.

Richard DeCato Sr. made the admission Thursday at a hearing in U.S. District Court.

After the guilty pleas to defrauding the federal government by obstructing IRS intestigation,
DeCato Sr. was given two years probation, with the first six months in home confinement.

He asked Judge William Young if that meant he could sit in his yard.
DeCato Sr. will not be able to leave his house or yard ''except for medical or religious purposes or to get a haircut,'' Young said.

As part of the plea agreement,
DeCato Sr. waives all rights to property the government claims was traced to his son's cocaine and marijuana trafficking business throughout New England.

According to U.S. Attorney Frank Libby,
DeCato Jr. bought and transferred property to his father and channeled drug proceeds to family friends Patrick and Patricia Cunan while he was a fugitive in the 1980s.

The Cunans, of Manchester, were convicted last month of money laundering and filing false tax returns. They will be sentenced Jan. 3.

Libby said federal agents twice searched
DeCato Sr.'s Morse Street home and seized silver bars and cash traced to his son's drug operations.

DeCato Jr., now in prison, pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.


 



Manchester Man Gets 25 2/3 Years in Drug Case Union Leader  [Manchester NH] December 13, 1995



BOSTON - A Manchester, N.H., man was sentenced to 25 2/3 years and fined $100,000 yesterday for selling drugs, laundering money and evading taxes.

''I've had five years to think about what I've done. I was a drug dealer and I recognize the harm I've brought to others,'' said Richard DeCato Jr., 38, who has been serving a 4 1/2-year sentence in New Hampshire stemming from fugitive-from-justice and receiving-stolen-property charges.

''You cannot even begin to understand the damage you have done to people you never met,'' U.S. District Court Judge William Young said.

''The lives of parents of children - and the children themselves - have suffered as a result of your actions,'' the judge told DeCato in ordering that all of the defendant's finances and property be forefeited and that he serve five years of supervised release once he is free from prison.

The judge noted that DeCato's drug-trafficking enterprise spread throughout New England and reached as far south as Florida. It involved nearly a dozen co-conspiractors and his father, Richard DeCato Sr., formerly of Manchester and serving six months of home detention at his Florida residence as part of a two-year term of probation imposed earlier this year for his part in the conspiracy.

Patrick and Patricia Cunan, owners of Manchester-based State Scale Co., are awaiting sentencing next month on money laundering and tax-evasion convictions for their role in helping DeCato Jr. conceal the proceeds of his drug-dealing operations.

 




Sell Properties Union Leader [Manchester NH] October 1, 1998



BOSTON The U.S. Attorney's Office has started legal proceedings to sell eight Maine properties owned by a convicted New Hampshire money-launderer.

Patrick S. Cunan, 50, formerly of 35 Morrison St. in Manchester, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1996 for laundering money from drug smuggler Richard J. Decato.

The judge also imposed a $2.2 million fine, which the eight properties will be sold to satisfy. The properties are located in Waterboro, Limington and Aroostook. All monies recovered will go to a fund that assists victims of crime nationwide.

Cunan is serving time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, N.J., according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.



 


Obituary



BEDFORD -- Lillian Decato Nugent, formerly of Manchester, died Aug. 7, 2005, at Harborside Health Care Center.

Born April 24, 1913, in Cornish, she was a daughter of William and Hattie (Switzer) Hicks. She lived in Manchester for many years.

The family includes two sons, William A. Decato of Manchester and Richard J. Decato of Florida; three daughters, Gloria Greene of Nashua, Dolores Purington of Concord and Joyce Czaja of Manchester; 18 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; and 19 great-great-grandchildren.

SERVICES: The funeral will be held at the family's convenience, with burial to follow at Pine Grove Cemetery in Manchester. Cate & Johnson Funeral Service of Manchester is directing arrangements. 




 

Sex predator alert KATHRYN MARCHOCKI Union Leader January 11, 2007



The Merrimack County Attorney's office is reviewing whether an inmate due to be released from state prison tomorrow after completing his maximum sentence for a 1998 rape conviction could be a sexually violent predator likely to commit further sex crimes if not civilly committed.

County Attorney Daniel St. Hilaire said his office is determining if it should file an emergency petition in Merrimack County Superior Court to detain former Pembroke resident William DeCato, 50, beyond his release date so a multi-disciplinary team can evaluate whether he continues to pose a risk under a new state law that went into effect Jan. 1.

"We're working on the case. Right now, all I can say is it's under review," St. Hilaire said yesterday.

The law permitting involuntary civil commitments of sexually violent predators deemed likely to reoffend enables prosecuting attorneys to file emergency petitions when an inmate is eligible for immediate release.

The court must hold a hearing within 24 hours to determine if there is probable cause to support the prosecutor's concern. The offender remains detained until the hearing is held.

DeCato is one of three state prison inmates convicted of sex crimes due to be released from state prison this month after completing their maximum sentences, state corrections department spokesman Jeffrey Lyons said.

DeCato, who lived in Pembroke when he was sentenced on April 21, 1999, was convicted in Merrimack County Superior Court of aggravated felonious sexual assault, kidnapping and sexual assault in crimes involving more than one victim, St. Hilaire and Lyons said. DeCato served the maximum eight-year sentence on the aggravated felonious sexual assault conviction and received deferred sentences on the other charges, Lyons said.

St. Hilaire called the new law a "double-edged sword."

"On the one hand, it's a great tool for prosecutors to evaluate if somebody is a risk. On the other hand, it just took effect a few days ago and so this might be the first case. With anything that might be the first ... there might be some difficulties in determining how to go about the process," St. Hilaire said.

Corrections department spokesman Lyons said his office also notified Sullivan County Attorney Marc B. Hathaway that former Claremont resident Jerry D. Menard, 50, will complete his maximum sentence Jan. 29 and told Grafton County Attorney Ricardo St. Hilaire that Alan D. Ianni Jr., 47, formerly of West Rutlland, Vt., will max out on Jan. 15.

Menard was convicted of the 1987 rape of a girl under 13 years old, Lyons said. His original 10- to 30-year sentence was reduced and, after returning to prison four times on parole violations, he will complete his maximum sentence Jan. 29.

Ianni was convicted in 2001 of aggravated felonious sexual assault and was sentenced to two- to six years in state prison, Lyons said. He was paroled in 2003 and was returned to prison in 2005 following a parole violation, he said.

The state corrections department is required under the new law to notify prosecuting attorneys whose office won the convictions of those inmates who meet the sexually violent offenders provision of the new law and are about to be released, Lyons said.

While notifications are to be made at least nine months before an inmate's release, Lyons said his office could only start the process after the law took effect Jan. 1.

Lyons said the law also requires prosecuting attorneys be notified of inmates who have completed their minimum sentences and are eligible for parole. Their names were not available yesterday, he said.

If prosecuting attorneys believe an offender is likely to engage in repeat predatory sexual violence, they can ask a multi-disciplinary team of experts trained in diagnosing and treating sexual offenders to assess the individual for possible civil commitment.

If the team unanimously finds the person suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes him or her likely to be sexually violent if not confined to a secure facility, the case goes before a superior court jury. The court can order civil commitments for up to five years.

In cases involving emergency petitions, a court must find probable cause that the person is a sexually violent predator. The multidisciplinary team then has 72 hours to assess the person. If the team finds the person not to be sexually violent, he or she is immediately released.

Grafton County Attorney Ricardo St. Hilaire confirmed he was notified of Ianni's pending release and is reviewing it, but would not discuss the case further.

Speaking generally, however, Ricardo St. Hilaire said the new law will require each county attorney to determine which case warrants a civil commitment review.

"It's brand new to New Hampshire and there are substantial costs with civil commitment. There are policy decisions that need to be made with regard to balancing public safety with also being mindful about financial resources that are available," he said.

Still, he said all agencies involved in the process are committed "to do one thing and that is to ensure public safety."

He conservatively estimated it will cost at least $15,000 to do a civil commitment case, with counties bearing the cost of hiring expert witnesses to testify.

With the law still untested, he predicted anyone convicted of aggravated felonious sexual assault would be looked at, but not necessarily recommended, for civil commitment.

"Once we get through the process of litigating these kind of cases, it may be that the law becomes clearer, the culture becomes clearer. We will just have to wait and see," he said.

Sullivan County Attorney Hathaway confirmed he was notified of Menard's release and is reviewing the case.




State argues to keep sex predator in custody
KATHRYN MARCHOCKI  Union Leader February 21, 2007




CONCORD -- Convicted rapist William A. DeCato's continued confinement at the state prison's secure psychiatric unit pending his civil commitment trial to determine if he is a sexually violent predator is unconstitutional because it keeps him in corrections department custody even though he no longer is an inmate, his attorney argued yesterday.

But the state said defense claims of unconstitutionality are baseless because the new law is a civil -- and not a penal -- statute that seeks to protect the community from sexual predators while offering these offenders an opportunity to get treatment. So far, DeCato, 50, has rejected treatment, added Assistant Attorney General Michael K. Brown.

Brown added that the law allows DeCato to be kept at the secure psychiatric unit pending trial, slated to begin April 16, because the unit is a psychiatric treatment center, functions autonomously from the prison, and houses patients civilly committed for mental health reasons or found not guilty by reason of insanity.

"The statute says he has to be held somewhere and somewhere is not defined. The only option available right now...is the SPU," Brown said at the Merrimack County Superior Court hearing.

He noted a legislative effort is under way to develop a secure treatment facility that would accommodate those civilly committed for mental illness, development disabilities, not guilty by reason of insanity and as sexually violent predators.

DeCato's case is the first test of the civil commitment provision of the Sexual Predators Act that went into effect Jan. 1.

The law allows prosecutors to seek civil commitment trials for sexual offenders suspected of having a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes them likely to reoffend if not confined to a secure treatment center for up to five years terms.

DeCato was convicted in 1999 of attacking two exotic dancers in his Pembroke home. He finished his eight-year prison sentence Jan. 12.

Defense attorney David B. Hirsch asked the court to either release DeCato, transfer him to a secure facility run by the state's health and human services department, or provide him better conditions than that offered criminals and equal to those provided other civilly committed people.

Noting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a similar civil commitment law in Kansas because the offender was not held under corrections department supervision, Hirsch said that case did not provide "a blank check for all attempts by the state to put sexual offenders wherever they please."

Judge Philip D. Mangones took the matter under advisement and said he would issue an order shortly.

-----

That's DeCato (with a capital C)

CONCORD -- Noting various spellings of sexual offender William A. DeCato's name in court filings yesterday, Judge Philip D. Mangones sought to clarify and correct the record.

DeCato's attorney and DeCato, 50, himself provided the correct spelling of his name when he testified on the witness stand.

DeCato's name had been spelled incorrectly in previous court filings. 



 



Sex case puts law to test KATHRYN MARCHOCKI Union Leader [Manchester NH] January 17, 2007



CONCORD -- Five days after his scheduled release from state prison, convicted sexual offender William DeCato remained in custody last night while he waits for a court to decide if he can walk away a free man or could continue to pose a public threat if not civilly committed.

In the first hearing of its kind under the state's new Sexual Predator Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, the court must rule if there is probable cause to continue to detain DeCato, 50, beyond his Jan. 12 release date. If so, a team of experts will evaluate the former Pembroke resident to determine if he is a sexually violent predator likely to reoffend if not committed to a secure psychiatric facility for up to five years.

Otherwise, DeCato immediately will be set free.

"We believe he could be a risk," Merrimack County Attorney Daniel I. St. Hilaire said after Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Philip D. Mangones continued yesterday's four-hour hearing until this morning when further witness testimony will be heard.


St. Hilaire filed an emergency petition with the court Jan. 12, the day DeCato was set to be released from state prison after serving a maximum eight-year sentence for sexually assaulting two exotic dancers at his Pembroke home in 1997 and 1998.

In his petition, St. Hilaire cited DeCato's sexually violent offenses, criminal history and his actions while incarcerated as reasons why a multi-disciplinary team of experts should have the opportunity to evaluate whether DeCato suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder-- other than a mental illness or developmental disability -- that makes him a likely repeat offender.

St. Hilaire noted that DeCato also refused to participate in the sexual offender treatment program and substance abuse treatment while in prison.

The law requires the inmate remain in custody pending a hearing, which must be held within 24 hours. The three-day holiday weekend delayed the hearing until yesterday.

DeCato, who also once lived at 66 Medford St., Manchester, was convicted of hiring an exotic dancer to come to his Pembroke home on March 21, 1997 where he put what she believed to be a handgun to her head, pinned her against a wall and said, "We are finished playing games, now I am going to rape you," the indictment charged.

"She pleaded with him not to have intercourse with her and instead she was forced to perform fellatio. He told her he had done this to many women in the past and then allowed her to leave," St. Hilaire wrote in his petition.


Ten months later, DeCato hired a dancer from another agency to come to his home on Jan. 23, 1998. When she also refused DeCato's request for sex, DeCato grabbed her by the throat, threw her on the couch and began groping her, St. Hilaire wrote. She struggled and screamed until her bodyguard broke down the door, subdued DeCato and police arrived.

DeCato was convicted on April 21, 1999 of one count each of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated felonious sexual assault. He served the maximum eight years of a four- to -eight-year sentence. DeCato also was given two deferred sentences which can only be imposed if he commits another offense within two years following his release, St. Hilaire said.

Defense attorney David Hirsch, arguing to have the petition against DeCato dismissed, challenged the constitutionality of the state bringing its case under the emergency provision of the law, which he said deprived Decato of his freedom and due process rights.

"Mr. DeCato wouldn't be stuck in a state prison from Friday until today" had the county attorney moved to have him evaluated as soon as the law went into effect Jan. 1, Hirsch argued during the first portion of the hearing, which dealt with legal issues and was open to the public. Hirsch is managing attorney of the New Hampshire Public Defenders new special defender's office created to defend these cases statewide.

St. Hilaire said the law allows for emergency petitions when someone eligible for immediate release is believed to be a threat to the public. Normally, the law requires the state corrections department to notify prosecuting attorneys nine months before a sexual violent offenders' release. DeCato, however, is the first inmate who was up for release since the law went into effect and funding could be appropriated to assemble an evaluating team, St. Hilaire said.


Hirsch also questioned the constitutionality of detaining DeCato in the state prison's secure psychiatric unit should the judge find there is probable cause to have him evaluated.

"Mr. DeCato ... is no longer a convict. To put him back in a Department of Corrections facility at this point would only be punishment... (and) clearly violates his right to excessive punishment under the double jeopardy clause," Hirsch argued.


St. Hilaire said the unit is the most appropriate place for these commitments, noting people never convicted of crimes are held there pending evaluations.

He also said he is confident the law is constitutional, noting the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld similar laws in other states.

Mangones denied all defense motions, allowing the evidentiary portion of the hearing to proceed with witness testimony.


Saying the civil commitment proceeding is a civil, and not a criminal, matter, Mangones order the evidentiary hearing to be held behind closed doors similar to how they are conducted in probate court.

David J. Cantagallo, a licensed clinical mental health and drug and substance abuse counselor hired by the county attorney's office Friday to review DeCato's case, was among several witnesses expected to testify during the evidentiary hearing.


Cantagallo, who does sex offender counseling at the state prison's secure psychiatric unit and at New Hampshire State Hospital, said "anybody who committed those behaviors could be a dangerous guy."

"Those behaviors exhibit a potential for sado-masochism," Cantagallo said outside the hearing room, noting he was speaking in general terms and not specifically addressing DeCato's case.


DeCato was taken to the state prison's secure psychiatric unit after yesterday's hearing adjourned at 5 p.m. This is the first time in his eight years in prison that he has been held in that unit, St. Hilaire said.

If Mangones finds probable cause, a team of experts has 72 hours to present a written report on its evaluation of DeCato. If they find DeCato fits the definition of a sexually violent predator, St. Hilaire has 48 hours to file a petition in superior court where a civil commitment trial would be held within 60 days. If the team does not find him to be sexually dangerous, DeCato would be set free.



 



Predator gets 'violent' label KATHRYN MARCHOCKI Union Leader February 7, 2007



CONCORD -- A judge again found probable cause to believe former Manchester resident William DeCato is a sexually violent predator yesterday, this time clearing the way for his case to proceed to a civil commitment trial that could keep the ex-convict in a secure psychiatric unit for up to five years.

The case is the first test of the state's Sexual Predators Act intended to target a small, dangerous group of violent sexual predators who are likely to reoffend if not civilly committed. The law went into effect Jan. 1.


DeCato, 50, was convicted in 1999 of raping one exotic dancer in 1997 and kidnapping and attempting to rape another in 1998. The attacks occurred at his home in Pembroke.

But the 26-year-old dancer DeCato raped while holding what she believed to be a gun to her head on March 20, 1997 said DeCato told her he assaulted about nine other women the same way and escort agencies shut him off as a result, according to the report of a multidisciplinary team who evaluated DeCato last month.

"They're not going to call the cops. I've done this before," DeCato said when the phone rang and the dancer told him it was her escort agency.

Apparently no charges were brought in any of the other alleged offenses, possibly because the women did not report them to police.

After DeCato's attempted sexual assault of a 21-year-old exotic dancer Jan. 23, 1998 was thwarted when her bodyguard broke down the door and called police, DeCato told one of the responding officers, "'You guys didn't do anything to me last time,' and then he laughed," the team said in its report, most of which was made public yesterday. Police cited prior similar incidents where victims wouldn't contact police.


A drunken DeCato also groped two young women he picked up in his car in Manchester on Feb. 15, 1995. The women -- who had worked as prostitutes but said they were not prostituting at the time -- fought off DeCato's advances and escaped, the team wrote.

DeCato completed his maximum, eight-year state prison sentence and was about to be set free when Merrimack County Attorney Daniel I. St. Hilaire filed an emergency petition to have a multidisciplinary team evaluate whether he is a sexually violent predator.

Judge Philip D. Mangones found probable cause to conduct the evaluation Jan. 17. The team found DeCato met the law's definition of a sexually violent predator. St. Hilaire petitioned the court for a civil commitment trial Jan. 24. DeCato remains at the prison's secure psychiatric unit.

Yesterday's probable cause finding followed a two-day, mostly closed-door hearing involving two psychologists with expertise in treating sexual offenders. One testified for the state, the other for the defense. It enables the case to proceed to trial, tentatively set for April 16.

The judge's three-sentence ruling noted a "further more detailed" order may follow. Mangones ruled Feb. 2 to allow portions of the proceedings -- such as investigator and victim testimony -- to be public, while physician and counselor testimony would remain sealed.


The Union Leader Corp. appealed the order Monday, asking to have all court proceedings and documents public.

Mangone's ruling resulted in his repeatedly closing this week's proceedings when experts were about to testify to anything dealing with DeCato's psychological and treatment records and drug and alcohol reports, then reopening them.


For instance, when defense attorney David B. Hirsch asked his witness, Dr. Leonard A. Bard, whether he considered DeCato to be a dangerous sexual recidivist, Mangones ordered the courtroom closed for the one hour of testimony.




 


2 sex offenders facing civil commitment waive hearing
DALE VINCENT Union Leader [Manchester NH] June 29, 2007


 


MANCHESTER -- Both men Hillsborough County Attorney Marguerite Wageling seeks to have civilly committed as violent sexual predators yesterday waived their right to a probable cause hearing and trial within 60 days, as required by the new law permitting civil commitments for up to five years.

The county attorney's office sought the waivers before Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson, because the prosecution and defense say a Supreme Court appeal regarding the first case under the new law will affect these cases in terms of public and media access. That appeal, plus the process of preparing for these court cases, means trials could be delayed until November. Thomas Hurley, 47, and William Ploof, 47, were sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting children, and the state wants to use the new sexual predator law to keep them in prison after their sentences are completed, saying they have personality disorders that make them highly likely to be repeat offenders.


Ploof, who on June 13 completed his most recent sentences for aggravated felonious sexual assault and sexual assault of a minor boy, remains in the secure psychiatric unit of the state prison.

Hurley, who was convicted in 1986 of three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault against a young boy, will complete his prison sentences July 9.

The Supreme Court appeal challenges the rulings of Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Philip Mangones with regard to public and media access to the court proceedings. The state and defense had sought to have the entire process closed, while the media sought total access. Mangones closed not only most of the proceedings, but sealed a portion of his order at the conclusion of the probable cause hearing.


Public defender Mark Larsen is expected to join the DeCato appeal on behalf of Hurley and Ploof, because Abramson has issued different rulings with respect to public and media access for the court proceedings for Hurley and Ploof. The New Hampshire Union Leader and Newspapers of New England appealed Magones' rulings to the Supreme Court, as did William DeCato, the inmate in whose case the access ruling was made. The Merrimack County attorney, who filed the petition to certify DeCato, the first under the new sexual predator law, dropped the case against DeCato after the probable cause hearing.
 
Dan St. Hilaire said as more information came in about DeCato, who was completing a prison term for sexually assaulting two exotic dancers, he didn't think he could convince a jury DeCato had a mental abnormality or personality disorder that would make him likely to be a repeat offender.



Rapist is charged again: 'System failed' Union Leader [Manchester NH] August 27, 2009




MANCHESTER -- William DeCato, 53, a rapist prosecutors wanted to keep behind bars even after his prison term ended in 2007, is now charged with burglary, kidnapping and rape in Manchester.

"The system failed," said Dan St. Hilaire, the former Merrimack County prosecutor who tried, then abandoned the effort to get a civil commitment against DeCato two years ago.

Bail yesterday was set at $1 million cash in Manchester District Court for DeCato, of 66 Medford St.

The convicted sex offender is accused of breaking into the Norcross Street residence of a woman and raping her repeatedly late Tuesday night and early yesterday.

The 43-year-old woman told police a man woke her as she slept on the living room couch about 10 p.m., covered her face with a towel, slapped her and told her: "Cooperate or I'm going to kill you."

The victim told police that as she was being attacked, she saw on a table a knife her attacker had taken from her kitchen and she grabbed it, slashing at him.

She said he wrested the knife away from her and dragged her to the bathroom to wash off the blood. She said he sexually assaulted her in the shower and then again on a bed before gathering up bloody clothing and bedding and fleeing.

After piles of bloody fabric were found on Candia Road, a police dog was used to follow the trail back to the victim's rear yard, locating other bloody items along the way.

DeCato's home, where he lives with his sister and a nephew, is just a few blocks from the victim.

According to a police affidavit, DeCato's relatives told police he left about 10 p.m., saying he was going for a walk, and had not returned by early morning.

In court yesterday, police prosecutor Stephen Reardon said there had been a heightened awareness in the neighborhood after another woman reported finding a man on her doorstep and a screen cut.

The Norcross Street victim told police her assailant apparently entered through a bedroom window.

Police said her description of the man matched that of DeCato, who was found walking on nearby Ruth Street.

DeCato was wearing clothing matching the victim's description, had a tattoo she had described and also had fresh cuts on his neck, chin and right arm, consistent with where she slashed her attacker.

Two years ago, DeCato was the first person the state sought to civilly commit as a dangerous sexual predator after he completed a prison sentence.

DeCato had pleaded guilty to the 1997 rape of an exotic dancer and kidnapping and attempting to rape another stripper in 1998.

DeCato refused to participate in the prison sex offender program, so he served the full sentence of eight years.

He was scheduled for release Jan. 12, 2007 when the Merrimack County attorney filed the first petition to have a dangerous sexual predator civilly committed for treatment.

A judge found probable cause to hold DeCato, but in May 2007, St. Hilaire withdrew the petition.

"It was our belief he was at risk of re-offending," St. Hilaire said.

But experts for both the defense and state, based on psychological evaluations, changed their opinions of DeCato as a dangerous predator likely to re-offend.

St. Hilaire said that changed the nature of the evidence against DeCato, and he had to withdraw the commitment petition.

DeCato was released and required to register with police as a sexual offender.

Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker worked on the sexual predator law that is part of the 2006 Child Protection Act.

Delker yesterday said the law provides for civil commitment and treatment, in five-year-increments, for certain sexual offenders who have a mental abnormality, not a mental illness, that predisposes them to commit sexually violent crimes.

The goal is to keep those offenders confined for treatment after they complete their sentences.

Following DeCato's arraignment yesterday in district court, Hillsborough County Attorney Marguerite Wageling said her office will be working with the Manchester police "to make sure a fair and complete investigation is done" before this case is brought before a Hillsborough County grand jury. She has 90 days to bring the case to the grand jury.

In June, Wageling won a jury verdict certifying as a dangerous sexual predator another sex offender, William Ploof, 49, whose convictions involved male children.

Another child sex offender, Thomas Hurley, 49, who has been held since he maxed out his sentence in July 2007, is expected to face a civil commitment trial this fall.



 



Jury told DNA matched rape suspect’s
KATHRYN MARCHOCKI  Union Leader [Manchester NH] October 25, 2011




MANCHESTER — Forensic tests reveal DNA evidence collected from accused rapist William DeCato matched those found on the bedroom mattress, living room couch and bathroom shower curtain where his alleged victim said DeCato repeatedly raped her in 2009, a prosecutor said during opening statements at his rape trial Monday.

The alleged victim — a Chinese immigrant — was asleep on the couch when DeCato, 55, allegedly broke in through a bedroom window, threw a towel over her head and punched and threatened her before raping her over two hours from Aug. 25-26, 2009, Assistant County Attorney Maureen F. O’Neil told the 10 female and six male jurors.

The alleged victim also described the tattoo of a naked woman on her alleged assailant’s right arm and the wound she inflicted behind his left ear when she tried to fight him off, which police said matched DeCato when they found him walking about 2:30 a.m. at Ruth and Norcross streets, O’Neil alleged.

The woman, then 43, also picked out DeCato when shown a photo array at police headquarters early Aug. 26, O’Neil said in opening statements before Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kenneth C. Brown.

The alleged victim, who is expected to testify today through a Chinese interpreter, was home alone the night of the alleged attack because her husband was working an extra hour of overtime, the prosecutor said.

DeCato, who lived at 66 Medford St. at the time, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, four counts of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault, three counts of falsifying physical evidence and one count each of kidnapping and burglary.

Public defender Caroline K. Brown questioned the credibility of the alleged victim, saying the "inconsistencies" in her statements to police and prosecutors "are just as important as if she were lying."

DeCato’s attorney also noted DeCato drank about 12 to 18 beers the day of the alleged crimes. An intoxicated person may not have the necessary mental state to be convicted of a knowing criminal act, she said.

Blood alcohol tests done on DeCato’s blood shortly after his arrest reveal he had a blood alcohol level of .04, prosecutor O’Neil said.

Earlier, jurors strolled up the driveway and through the car port of the dilapidated green Cape-style home where DeCato lived with his sister and nephew on Aug. 25, 2009. A worn statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with much of its paint chipped away stood guard over the small yard and house, which is now abandoned and up for sale.

Jurors then traveled about a tenth of a mile away to where the alleged victim lived. The house is nearly identical in size, though neat and tidy. Jurors also visited several places where DeCato allegedly tossed bloody sheets, clothing and other items.

Trial resumes today with testimony from the alleged victim and other witnesses.



 



Man guilty of rape in victim’s home Union Leader [Manchester NH] November 2, 2011




NASHUA — A Manchester man was convicted Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court of raping a woman several times in her home.

According to a release from the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office, William Decato, 55, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole after his conviction on nine counts of sexual assault as well as charges of kidnapping, burglary and falsifying evidence.

In August 2009, Decato ripped out a bedroom window screen and entered the victim’s home, then repeatedly raped her over a two-hour period. At one point, she cut him with a knife, but he punched her and continued raping her, then forced her to shower twice to wash off his blood, according to the release.

Decato tried to cover up his crime by discarding blood-stained items throughout the neighborhood, the release said.

Once Decato left, the victim immediately called police and provided them with a description of her attacker. Police also collected a hat and a pair of glasses he’d left at her house, and DNA testing identified blood at the home as Decato’s, the release said.

"If it were not for the courage of the victim in reporting the assault and testifying against the defendant, a dangerous predator would still be on the streets," Assistant County Attorney Michael Valentine said in the release.


DeCato was the first person the state sought to civilly commit as a violent sexual predator in 2007, when he was about to be released from state prison after completing a maximum eight-year sentence.

He was convicted in 1999 of raping an exotic dancer and the attempted rape and kidnapping of another dancer. Merrimack County prosecutors abandoned their effort to civilly commit DeCato, saying they would not prevail at trial.



 



Rapist gets multiple life terms
DALE VINCENT Union Leader [Manchester NH] January 7, 2012




MANCHESTER — William Decato, 55, was sentenced to 13 concurrent prison terms of life without the possibility of parole for the August 2009 home invasion and sexual assault of a city woman.

Decato, formerly of 66 Medford St., Manchester, was convicted in a jury trial Nov. 1, 2011, in Hillsborough County Superior Court North of nine counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and four counts of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault.

Because he had twice before been convicted under the aggravated felonious sexual assault statute, in 1998 and 1999, for assaults in Pembroke, Decato qualified for the enhanced penalty of life in prison without parole.

Judge Kennth Brown also sentenced Decato to a total of 18 to 36 years in prison, consecutive to the life sentences, for kidnapping, burglary and two counts of falsifying physical evidence in connection with the assault of the woman, a Chinese immigrant.

The judge told Decato he deserved to be removed from the community and society.

The victim did not appear at the sentencing, but wrote a letter, translated into English and read by her victim advocate. In her statement, she spoke of how, more than two years later, "nothing feels safe" and how, when she closes her eyes, a horror movie unfolds. "My head and my heart hurt," she wrote. Even when it is 100 degree outside, she said, she keeps the windows closed.

She asked for the maximum possible sentence to be imposed, "to protect the safety of women in this city."

Despite the horrific experience, the victim reported the assault promptly, aiding police in catching Decato.

He had broken into the woman’s home by ripping out a screen in her bedroom window. Over a two-hour period, he raped the woman, dragging her between the living room, bathroom and bedroom,

Even after she was able to grab a knife and slash Decato behind the ear and stab his neck, he continued the assaults, twice forcing her into the shower to wash off blood.

When he left the house, he carried various blood-stained items with him, discarding them as he traveled. Decato was found walking on Ruth Street, near the victim’s home, wearing clothing that matched her description and with a tattoo on his upper right arm, described in court Friday as a "dancing girl." When he was stopped by Officers Derek Sullivan and Emmett Macken, who had been patrolling the area undercover, Decato also had fresh cuts on his neck, chin and right arm, consistent with where the victim said she slashed her attacker.

The area, near where Decato was living with relatives, had been under heightened surveillance after another woman found a man on her doorstep and a screen cut.

Blood evidence, plus a hat and glasses Decato left in the victim’s house that were later identified by his relatives, were key elements in proving Decato’s guilt.

Two years earlier, Decato had been the first person the state sought to civilly commit as a dangerous sexual predator after he completed a prison sentence.

Decato had pleaded guilty to the 1997 rape of an exotic dancer and kidnapping and attempting to rape another stripper in 1998, but because he refused to participate in the prison sex offender program, he served the full sentence of eight years.

He was scheduled for release Jan. 12, 2007, when then Merrimack County Attorney Dan St. Hilaire filed the first petition to have a dangerous sexual predator civilly committed for treatment.

A judge found probable cause to hold Decato, but in May 2007, St. Hilaire withdrew the petition.

Following Decato’s arrest in the Manchester assault, St. Hilaire said: "It was our belief he was at risk of re-offending." But he said experts for both the defense and state, based on psychological evaluations, changed their opinions of Decato as a dangerous predator likely to re-offend. St. Hilaire said that changed the nature of the evidence against Decato, and he had to withdraw the commitment petition. Decato was released and required to register with police as a sexual offender.

After Decato was charged with the Manchester woman’s assault, St. Hilaire said: "The system failed."

Following Friday’s sentencing, Manchester police Sgt. John Patti said: "A case like this is extremely difficult from the investigative standpoint." But he said Detective Ken Loui’s language skill and sensitivity enabled the victim to divulge the details of the assault, as painful as they were.

Assistant County Attorneys Maureen O’Neil and Michael Valentine said they were pleased with the sentences and praised the victim and thanked the investigators.

The victim’s statement spoke of being "a traditional Chinese woman" and said she was "ruined by that bad man." She said she visited her parents, but could not tell them what had happened, saying: "I did not dare hurt them."

O’Neil said the victim was very brave and as a result Decato will never be able to hurt another woman. Nevertheless, O’Neil said: "She will probably never get over it."

Decato is entitled to file a request for sentence review. 



 


                                                                          William A DeCato

 




 




 




 





 







 





 






 










 

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