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Sun Sentinel - 03/99

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Kidnapping hearing rescheduled

Judge to consider Fagan's request for his ex-wife's medical records

Staff Writer

A Massachusetts magistrate on Tuesday rescheduled a hearing in the Stephen Fagan kidnapping case, setting March 18 as the date she will hear Fagan's request for his ex-wife's medical records.

Fagan, known in Palm Beach social circles under the fictitious name of Dr. William Martin, is facing trial in Boston on charges that he abducted his two young daughters from his ex-wife, Barbara Kurth, and raised them in Palm Beach.

The case was set for a June 14 trial after a reported plea bargain, under which Fagan would plead guilty but not go to jail, fell through in January. Assistant District Attorney Lynn Rooney said on Tuesday that she is proceeding to trial and refused to speculate on any future plea deals. But she added, "Anything can happen at any time."

Rooney also said she would vigorously oppose the defense motion to release Kurth's medical records, which include her history of narcolepsy and her bouts of depression. Fagan has said he took his daughters more than 20 years ago because his ex-wife was an unfit mother.

As the case comes closer to trial, the emotional chasm between Kurth's family and the daughters she barely remembers seems to be growing. On Tuesday, Kurth's brother, Peter, called his nieces "cowards" – the first derogatory statement made against them.

This trial will show how cruel they are – Stephen, his lawyers and his daughters," Peter Kurth said outside the courtroom on Tuesday. Barbara Kurth is on vacation in Europe and could not be reached for comment.

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