By Patrick Markey
A parolee charged with sexually assaulting two Irish students in New Hampshire last summer will appear in a Portsmouth court in early September for the start of his trial, officials said.
Steven Gordon, who is 29, was on parole when he allegedly sexually assaulted the two female students in a desolate graveyard after abducting them at gunpoint. Gordon will appear in court on Sept. 13 to face felonious sexual assault and other charges, according to the Portsmouth County Prosecutor’s office.
Gordon’s attorney, Philip Desfosses, could not be reached for comment on the upcoming trial.
According to prosecutors, in the early hours of July 18, Gordon approached the two girls on a beach near Portsmouth and forced them into a rented car with what they believed was a handgun. Police later discovered the weapon was a plastic pellet gun purchased at a local Wal-Mart.
Taking the students to a desolate area in Calvary Cemetery, Gordon allegedly sexually assaulted the two women before fleeing in the rented car. But he didn’t get far before crashing into part of the graveyard, forcing him to abandon the vehicle. Police used the car to track Gordon’s identity.
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
Police said Gordon had just been released after serving part of a five-year sentence for sexual assault. He was also wanted for questioning in an investigation of a string of New Hampshire robberies and a sexual assault on a local real estate agent.
The story took a bizarre turn when Gordon managed to leave the country. He fled to Europe, using his own passport to fly first to Amsterdam and then Brussels. Contacted by a Boston reporter at a Dutch youth hostel, in a startling interview Gordon allegedly confessed to assaulting the students, and apologized for the attacks.
A day later Gordon surrendered to officials at the American embassy in Brussels. He was handed over to Belgian police and later extradited to New Hampshire for face trial. Gordon’s relatives told local newspapers that he suffered from manic depression and had recently stopped taking medication for his condition.
The crime shocked the local community in Portsmouth, which is popular resort spot where many Irish students work during their summer vacations.