, Salem, MA

June 18, 2013

Child molester denied permission to travel to NH


---- — IPSWICH — An Ipswich woman who admitted to molesting her own two children for years, in what a veteran prosecutor said might be the worst case of sexual abuse he had ever seen, now wants permission from a judge to vacation in New Hampshire with her sister this summer.

Mary Chadwick, 66, pleaded guilty to 16 child rape and indecent assault and battery charges in September 2000 and received a five-year state prison term, to be followed by 10 years of probation, which she is still serving.

During her sentencing, prosecutor Gerald Shea described “years” of abuse of the two children, starting in the 1980s and continuing into their teen years, when it was eventually disclosed to a guardian.

Last week, she asked her probation officer for permission to take the vacation out of state and was denied. Yesterday, she and a lawyer were in front of Salem Superior Court Judge David Lowy, making the same request.

Lowy also denied the travel permit.

Under a policy in effect for all probationers across the state, out-of-state travel is not permitted except in situations where there is an emergency or permission from a judge is given, probation chief Martin Wallace told the judge.

Wallace told the judge that in 2007 Chadwick was allowed to travel out of state to see her son before he was deployed overseas.

But he told the judge he would not allow her to travel simply to take a vacation.

“If I do it for her, I’ve got to do it for everyone,” Wallace said.

But Rebecca Whitehill, who represented Chadwick yesterday, said that policy was adopted only recently, more than a decade after Chadwick pleaded guilty. There was no mention of any restriction on travel during the sentencing, she argued.

Chadwick has been “completely compliant” with the terms of her probation, Whitehill said. The conditions originally included a no-contact order with her children and a requirement that she have no contact with children under 17.

“It just seems there’s no legitimate justification for this restraint on her right to travel,” argued Whitehill.

But Lowy pointed to case law that does give the state probation commissioner the right to set such a policy.

The judge suggested that the only way to appeal the probation decision would be to file suit.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.