Trial date set for mother in rape, human trafficking case

PAUL BILODEAU/File photoJohn Leone, left, of Methuen and Nancy Barr of Haverhill appear at their dangerousness hearing in Lawrence District Court in 2015. Leone pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping Barr's mentally disabled adult daughter and is serving time in state prison. Barr, who police say allowed the sexual assaults in exchange for cash and bill payments, is taking her case to a jury. 

SALEM, Mass. — The man charged with repeatedly raping her mentally disabled adult daughter pleaded guilty and was sent to state prison. But Nancy Barr, the woman's mother who police say  allowed the sexual assaults in exchange for cash and bill payments, is taking her criminal case to a jury. 

A Nov. 13 trial date has been set for Barr, 58, of Haverhill, who is accused of allowing John Leone, 69, of Methuen to have sex with her mentally disabled daughter who is now age 28. 

Barr is expected to be back in Salem Superior Court on Aug. 22 in preparation for her trial.

She was indicted by the Essex County grand jury on the following charges: human trafficking, six counts of rape, indecent assault and battery, intimidation of a witness and permitting indecent assault and battery on a disabled person.

Leone and Barr were initially charged in late December 2014 after the disabled woman disclosed the abuse. 

In May, Leone pleaded guilty to three counts of rape and a single count of indecent assault and battery during a hearing in Salem Superior Court. 

Judge Timothy Feeley sentenced Leone to three to five years in state prison, with credit for 144 days served, followed by five years probation. 

Leone must also register as a sex offender with a state board and undergo sex offender evaluation and treatment. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim. 

The prosecution and defense had agreed upon the sentence prior to Leone pleading guilty. Human trafficking and other charges against him were dropped as a result of the agreement. 

Previously, a lobby conference, where a resolution to the case is discussed, was also held on Barr's behalf. 

While awaiting trial, Barr remains free on bail. 

Prior to his arrest, Leone told investigators he had been having sex with the victim for two years prior and considered himself her "mentor." 

The woman believes in Santa Claus, investigators said. 

The Eagle-Tribune does not identify victims of sexual assault without their consent. 

The woman's court-appointed guardian gave a victim impact statement at Leone's sentencing. She showed the judge pictures of the young woman and noted she was "deemed incompetent to consent to any sexual activity." 

Prosecutor Kate MacDougall said the victim initally disclosed the abuse to her mother's best friend "that John was having sex with her" and that the "sexual abuse was happening with her mother's consent and encouragement." 

In 2015, during a dangerousness hearing, MacDougall said Barr was receiving $1,400 monthly in Social Security disability and other benefits on behalf of her daughter. 

Staff reporter Julie Manganis contributed to this article.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill. 

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