EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 16, 2013

Defense wants search evidence tossed in child rape, porn case

By Jill Harmacinski
jharmacinski@eagletribune.com

---- — METHUEN — In July, when John Lefebre, 63, was arrested on child rape and child pornography charges, police had confiscated 20 computers and several dozen hard drives from his 23 Frye Road home.

Lefebre’s defense attorney is now trying to get the items seized during that search suppressed from evidence. In a motion filed with the court yesterday, attorney Thomas Burke of Salem, Mass., said a detective’s affidavit supporting the search warrant “does not establish a time frame as to when the alleged abuse occurred.”

“The search warrant issued in this case was based on stale information ... All evidence seized as a result of the execution of the warrant must be suppressed,” Burke wrote in the motion.

Lefebre, who is held at Middleton Jail, is accused of raping a 10-year-old female relative and taking videos and pictures of the sex acts for four years. He is charged with eight counts of rape of a child, eight counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14, eight counts of posing a child in a sex act or distributing material of a child in the nude and one count of distribution of obscene matter.

He was arrested on July 13, 2012 after police executed a search warrant at his home. The computers and hard drives were all collected as evidence along with various other equipment including compact discs, cell phones, USB drives and cameras.

Methuen police Detective Thomas McMenamon Jr. filed the affidavit in support of the search warrant application. In the five-page document, McMenamon said he and Detective Charlie DeJesus met with the parents of the victim on July 11, 2012. They described a change in their daughter, who had become distant and withdrawn, and said the youth “had disclosed to a counselor that she had been sexually assaulted” by Lefebre.

The girl said the abuse occurred over the past four years, according to McMenamon’s affidavit.

In the motion to suppress, Lefebre signed a document indicating he did not “consent” to his home being searched that day, he did not recall being shown a search warrant and he did not make any voluntary statements to police.

Burke wrote the facts included in McMenamon’s search warrant affidavit “do not establish a time frame as to when the alleged criminal acts occurred.” While the victim told her parents the abuse had been going on for four years, “the affidavit does not state when the most recent incident occurred,” Burke wrote.

The abuse allegedly occurred in Lefebre’s home. Burke wrote, “There is no reference in the affidavit as to when the alleged victim had last been at the defendant’s house.”

A hearing on the motion will be held on June 18 in Salem Superior Court. Witnesses may be called to testify during the hearing.

Police said previously Lefebre is a retired information technology professional who had been working as a computer repairman at the time of his arrest.

The girl disclosed the alleged abuse of a therapist on July 10, saying Lefebre made her sit on his lap while watching pornography and touched her under her clothes, police said.

During a review of items taken from Lefebre’s home, a state trooper found pictures of a man performing sex acts on a child. Upon inspecting the videos, local police identified the man as Lefebre.

When he was arrested, Lefebre had a list of area defense lawyers in his pocket, according to police.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.