Updated: Apr 28

Disgraced order paying off victims ahead of lawsuits


Seven sexual abuse victims who say they were assaulted at a private New Hampshire school have filed separate lawsuits against the Legionaries of Christ, the Roman Catholic order founded by incestuous pedophile Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado.

The lawsuits, filed earlier this month in Connecticut federal and state courts, allege abuse against boys aged 12 to 15 perpetrated by priests and brothers of the order, some who had not been publicly reported as abusers by the order. The lawsuits also claim students were perpetrating abuse, and that this was known to school officials. All of the victims are known as John Doe in the lawsuits.

The order operated the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Center Harbor unit 2015. Legion spokeswoman Gail Gore did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuits. A source close to the victims told NH Reporter more lawsuits will be filed in the coming days.

Most of the alleged abuse happened in the early 1990s, according to the lawsuits. Former brother, David Consoli, who at one point was scheduled to be ordained as a priest in 2004, is named as an abuser in three of the lawsuits. The order acknowledged last month Consoli and Fr. Oscar Turrian were credibly accused of abuse, after NH Reporter obtained police reports naming them and others not previously disclosed by the order.

Turrian is listed as an alleged abuser by a Center Harbor student in one of the lawsuits, as is Fr. David Steffy. One of the alleged Center Harbor victims claimed he was sexually assaulted by an older student, a situation allegedly encouraged by Steffy. Five of the male plaintiffs filed in the federal court in Connecticut, and one filed in the New Haven Superior Court. The order is headquartered in Connecticut.

There is also another federal lawsuit brought by a woman, who is going by Jane Doe, who said she was abused while in confession with a Legion priest, Fr. Daniel McCallium. The woman was 13 when she attended a private school for girls in Rhode Island, Immaculate Conception Academy. The lawsuits claim that Legion officials knew about the abuse, and did nothing to stop it, but sometimes had the alleged perpetrators moved.

(Read about how the Legion allegedly misled police while disclosing abuse.)

Neither Steffy nor McCallion had previously been outed as abusers by the order. McCallion did not respond to a request for comment. The Legion reported in 2019 that Steffy was being assigned to a post in Jerusalem. At that time he was a priest in good standing with the order. NH Reporter could not find contact information for Consoli. According to the lawsuits he is currently living in Massachusetts.

The Legionaries first acknowledged the abusers in its ranks in 2019, almost 10 years after the Vatican denounced Maciel and took temporary control of the order. The Legion only listed four credibly accused members in all of North America, with two being stationed at the Center Harbor school; Francisco Cardona and Fernando Cutanda both allegedly abused students at the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School, according to the Legionaries report. Both men would end up being ordained by the order, though Cutanda has since been laicized. Cardona has since died.

Sources tell NH Reporter that the order has been using the process of reporting on itself to identify victims of abuse, and offer payments in exchange for silence. Center Harbor Police Chief Mark Chase has said several victims stopped talking to him after receiving payments.

An attorney who has helped Legion victims told NH Reporter that the victims are required to sign an agreement before getting the money. The lawyer said the Legion was misleading victims by telling them that their legal claims were timed out, and then it offered them each up to $10,000 in exchange for signing the agreement.

“(A) release of claims that is so broadly drafted that it would include anything the Legion would do to them in the future, such as running them over with a car,” the attorney said.

The attorney representing the alleged victims, Patrick Tomasiewicz of Hartford, did not respond to a request for comment.


The Center Harbor school on Dane Road, with views of Lake Winnipesaukee, is currently for sale with an estimated value of $8.9 million. The Legion bought the campus in the 1980s from the La Salette order, which had operated the campus as a seminary.

In 2017, a former student filed a federal lawsuit against the Legion for the rape he allegedly suffered from Cutanda. The lawsuit states that the alleged victim told a Legion of Christ priest, identified in the lawsuit as Fr. O’Carroll, what had been happening after feeling guilt and shame. O’Carroll, whom the legal documents describe as “in charge of I.C.A.S. at the time,” allegedly told the boy to say five rosaries “for his sins” and told him “God will take care of things.”

Fr. Fergus O’Carroll had been the head of the school during the timeframe mentioned in the lawsuit. The Legion settled with that victim in October of 2018.

The Legion of Christ was founded by Maciel in 1949, and it became a fundraising powerhouse in the Catholic Church. Maciel used the money to help shield himself from consequences, and he required that Legion priests take secret vows to never disclose what they saw in the order to anyone outside the Legion.

Maciel now notorious behavior reportedly included drug addiction, fathering several children with at least three different women, the sexual abuse of his own children and others.

In 2019, the Vatican released a statement on Maciel's crimes.

“The very grave and objectively immoral actions of Father Maciel, confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies, in some cases constitute real crimes and manifest a life devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning.”

The 2019 report released by the Legion found that 175 minors were abused by 33 Legionaries priests world-wide. That figure includes 60 victims attributed solely to Maciel.


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Jailed Free Keene activist Nobody wants to bring violence against the government since he’s been locked up as part of the federal money laundering case that’s ensnared the libertarian group, according to court records.

According to prosecutors Nobody wants someone to shoot police.

“Co- defendant Nobody stated in a recent recorded telephone call that, ‘somebody needs to start shooting pigs,’ and ‘it’s time for the fuckin Boogaloo . . . that’s how this thing ends. When we end this fucking government.’”

This disclosure comes in a motion opposing the release of Nobody’s co-defendant, Ian Freeman. Freeman is the leader of the Free Keene group.

Boogaloo is the term for the civil war against police and the government, and a Boogaloo is advocated for by some libertarians and many white supremacists groups, like the Three Percenters.

Prosecutors argue that Freeman himself has also made reference to violence leading up to his arrest last month. Freeman was aware that he was being investigated by federal agents concerning his Bitcoin businesses.

“Freeman wrote on one occasion that he welcomed the government attack he believed was coming, referring apparently to criminal charges he anticipated. Various of Freeman’s associates have likewise characterized these charges in terms of a war or attack,” according to the motion.

Investigators found dozens of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition in Freeman’s Leverett Street home when they arrested him last month. The home is close to a Keene charter middle school.

Nobody, 52, who legally changed his name from Rich Paul, made unsuccessful political runs for mayor in Keene and Governor. He was convicted in 2014 in drug dealing charges, and said during the trial he was offered an FBI deal in exchange for wearing a wire to Free Keene meetings.

Earlier this month, Nobody’s lawyer, John Apruzzese, was granted permission to leave the case after an incident with his client. While it is unclear what exactly transpired between the two, Apruzzese indicates something was said and there is now a lack of trust between the two.

“On April 6, 2021, counsel called Nobody and spoke with him about the motion to clarify status of counsel,” Apruzzese wrote in his motion to withdraw. “Counsel read the affidavit, filed under seal, in support of the motion. Counsel mistakenly thought Nobody made statements about the co-defendant, Ian Freeman. Counsel learned that those statements were made about counsel. Counsel immediately told Nobody he could no longer represent him and he would move to withdraw.”

While Nobody has waived his right to a detention hearing pending trial, Freeman is trying to get out. Prosecutors are opposed to Freeman being released, calling him a sophisticated criminal who operated a multi-million dollar money laundering scheme via his Bitcoin sales and donations to his various churches.

“In emails and recorded conversations in the government's possession, Freeman made no secret that he knew that fraudsters used his service for this purpose or that he needed to make misrepresentations to banks to conceal his scheme,” prosecutors write. “Freeman’s knowledge about the nefarious use that others made of his service is also demonstrated by the substantially higher fees that Freeman charged for bitcoin purchases compared to legitimate bitcoin exchanges, which register with the government and follow anti-money laundering rules in an effort to avoid having scammers use their services to wash their fraud proceeds.”

Freeman, 40, Colleen Fordham, 60, of Alstead, Renee Spinella, 23, of Derry, Andrew Spinella, 35, of Derry, Nobody, of Keene, and Aria DiMezzo, 34, of Keene were all taken into custody during last month’s raids. Only Freeman and Nobody continue to be held.


Free Keene was an important part of the Free State Project, a libertarian effort to overtake New Hampshire's government. Freeman and his Free Keene group were major promoters and recruiters for the FSP until 2014, when the FSP disassociated itself from Freeman over his repeated calls for lowering the age of consent laws. Free Keene was also the early home to Chris Cantwell, the Crying Nazi. Cantwell is currently serving a federal prison sentence after he was convicted of making online threats against another white supremacist.

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  • damientfisher

Updated: Apr 8


Free Keene leader Ian Freeman is arguing he’s neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community as he seeks to get out of jail pending trial on federal money laundering charges.

Meanwhile, Freeman’s Free Keene cohort and money laundering co-defendant, Nobody, needs to find a new lawyer after his attorney, John Apruzzese, asked to leave the case following an incident in which trust was lost between the two.

Freeman, 40, Nobody, 52, and four other people were arrested on March 16 when police and federal law enforcement raided the Free Keene properties Freeman controls in Keene. Law enforcement found $180,000 in cash, 26 guns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his Leverett Street home, which is close to a charter middle school in Keene.

United States District Court Judge Andrea Johnston ordered Freeman held without bail pending trial stating that he is a flight risk given the millions of dollars he has in cash and crypto-currency, and that he represents a danger to the community. Johnston based the dangerousness on evidence Freeman continued to operating his alleged Bitcoin money laundering business despite being aware of the ongoing federal investigation.

Freeman’s lawyer, Mark Sisti, filed in his appeal of the detention order on Wednesday seeking to have Freeman let out of jail. Sisti writes that Freeman is not a risk to flee the country, despite the fact he has recently traveled to Japan and Mexico.

“Although he has visited foreign countries in the past few years, there is no evidence he has any contacts in those countries that would aid him should he attempt to flee,” Sisti wrote.

Freeman’s continued operation of his alleged Bitcoin money laundering business, which reportedly exchanged $10 million over the years, does not show he is a danger to the community, according to Sisti. Johnstone found evidence that Freeman was operating his allegedly fraudulent business despite knowing that he was under federal investigation.

“Government agents have identified people across the country who stated they were manipulated by scammers into sending money to the defendant, the Shire Free Church, or one of the alleged co-conspirators, often in the form of ‘church donations,’” Johnstone wrote. “As recently as March 16, 2021, the Postal Inspection Service intercepted a package addressed to the Shire Free Church, which contained $4,000 from ‘an 80-year-old victim of an apparent romance scam.’ This operation clearly poses a danger to the community by enabling fraud and economic harm.”

Sisti claims that Freeman was never told by any authority that he had to stop running his businesses and his churches.

“The Government claimed that Mr. Freeman was aware that authorities were investigating him yet continued to engage in his business. Even so, there is no evidence that he was ever ordered to cease such activities by any Court or other regulatory body. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Freeman would engage in such acts once ordered to do so,” Sisti wrote.

While Freeman, who changed his name from Ian Bernard, is having his lawyer trying to get out of jail, his fellow Free Keene associate, Nobody, who changed his name from Rich Paul, has waived his detention hearing and seems to have alienated his attorney.


Nobody’s lawyer, Apruzzese, was granted permission to withdraw from the case this week after a recent encounter with his client, according to court records. While it is unclear what exactly transpired between the two, Apruzzese indicates something was said and there is now a lack of trust between the two.

“On April 6, 2021, counsel called Nobody and spoke with him about the motion to clarify status of counsel,” Apruzzese wrote in his motion to withdraw. “Counsel read the affidavit, filed under seal, in support of the motion. Counsel mistakenly thought Nobody made statements about the co-defendant, Ian Freeman. Counsel learned that those statements were made about counsel. Counsel immediately told Nobody he could no longer represent him and he would move to withdraw.”

Freeman is charged with operating a multi-million dollar bitcoin exchange business that facilitated laundering money from scammers across the country. He even allegedly used the churches he started to launder funds as “donations,” according to court records.

Freeman, Colleen Fordham, 60, of Alstead, Renee Spinella, 23, of Derry, Andrew Spinella, 35, of Derry, Nobody, of Keene, and Aria DiMezzo, 34, of Keene were all taken into custody following the raids. Only Freeman and Nobody continue to be held.


Freeman, Fordham, Renee Spinella, Andrew Spinella, and Nobody also are charged with wire fraud and participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Freeman is also charged with money laundering and operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise. Freeman and DiMezzo also are charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

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