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Boston Herald - 06/01/99

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Boston Herald

Mom says DA forced her to accept kidnapper Fagan's deal

by Margery Eagan

Tuesday, June 1, 1999

Barbara Kurth, whose daughters were kidnapped by her ex-husband 20 years ago, said yesterday she felt deceived and manipulated by the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office into agreeing to a plea bargain she did not want.

"I was under the impression that I had no choice. I lost all faith in the prosecution," Kurth said in her first interview since Stephen Fagan, 57, pleaded guilty to kidnapping Friday - and then held a press conference denying any wrongdoing.

Kurth also said she had hoped until the last momentin the courtroom Friday both that the judge might reject Fagan's no jail-time deal and that her two daughters might say they planned at some future time to meet with her.

Instead Rachael Martin,25, and Lisa Martin, 22, made no mention of their mother, and the judge accepted a guilty plea from Fagan that gave him two consecutive suspended sentences, five years' probation and required him to make a $100,000 charitable contribution.

But there was no jail ,which kKurth wanted.

"They gave me the impression they were going to take the deal no matter what I thought," said Kurth, 49, insisting that she told both Tom Reilly and Martha Coakley, the former and current Middlesex County district attorneys, she wanted a trial "whether I was raked over the coals or not. I've been raked over the coals for a year already."

And if not a trial,she said, she wanted a plea that included jail. "But they really tried to make me feel that if I took this to trial I was harming the girls, that it was my fault that this is all happening," she said. "They started saying, 'You know the girls don't deserve this.'"

Kurth said Martha Coakley told her, "'It doesn't matter what you want, we're going to take a plea from him.'"

Responded Coakley, "That's inaccurate and I absolutely deny that. I can't comment on plea negotiations, but that is untrue." Coakley pointed out that Kurth sent her office a letter in January agreeing to the plea conditions. She also said her office tried to keep Kurth informed of progress in the case.

But Kurth countered that she only sent the letter when all hope of a trial or jail vanished and that her best source of information on Fagan's plea deal was a reporter from the Palm Beach Post.

While praising the efforts of her court advocate and of Assistanct District Attorney Lynn Rooney, Kurth said she felt misinformed about much in proceedings.

'I was led to believe that my victim impact statement might have made a difference with the judge'. She doubts that now.

She said she was "flabbergasted" when Fagan's attorney Richard Egbert stood up in open court Friday, just a few feet from her, and detailed drunk-driving arrests, which Kurth blames on a sleeping disorder. Then he claimed she neglected the girls. "I didn't know what to do. I thought, if I stand up and make a fuss he is going to

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