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Man, 61, guilty of sexual assaults; 2 Shrewsbury girls `Uncle Al's' victims.

Byline: Gary V. Murray

WORCESTER - A Worcester man is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22 after being found guilty yesterday of sexually assaulting two Shrewsbury girls, ages 11 and 13, and showing the younger girl a magazine containing photographs of bare-breasted women.

A Worcester Superior Court jury deliberated for about five hours over two days before finding 61-year-old Albert E. McCausland Jr. guilty of two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child and a single count of disseminating matter harmful to minors. The jury of eight men and four women acquitted Mr. McCausland on two additional counts of indecent assault and battery on a child and two other charges of dissemination of matter harmful to minors.

Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. postponed sentencing until Jan. 22 to allow the Probation Department to prepare a pre-sentencing report. The judge revoked Mr. McCausland's $1 million cash bail and ordered that he remain in custody without bail until the time of sentencing.

Mr. McCausland, who had a 1971 conviction for committing an unnatural act, was accused of touching the buttocks of the two victims, who are sisters, on two occasions. He was also charged with showing the younger girl photographs of bare-breasted women in a magazine called Easy Riders and with allowing both girls to see what Assistant District Attorney Joseph J. Reilly Jr. described as a "pornographic air freshener," also depicting a woman with her breasts exposed, that was in his van.

The offenses for which he was found guilty occurred from Sept. 20 to Sept. 22, 2006, in Shrewsbury.

"I'm glad we caught him," the victims' mother said after the jury returned its verdicts yesterday afternoon.

The woman testified during the trial that she met Mr. McCausland, formerly of 276 Highland St., at a Worcester coffee shop where she and a group of friends socialized. She said he soon became a frequent visitor to her Shrewsbury residence, where he helped her and her fiance with home repairs. A Vietnam veteran who had been married twice and had children of his own, Mr. McCausland came to be called "Uncle Al" by her four children, the mother said.

That all ended on Sept. 24, 2006, she said, when her daughters told her Mr. McCausland had touched them indecently and she reported the allegations to Shrewsbury police.

In his closing argument to the jury, Mr. Reilly said Mr. McCausland took advantage of the family's friendship and trust in him and tried to transform his relationship with the children "into an adult relationship."

"He tested and he continued when no one said, `no,'" the prosecutor said.

Mr. McCausland's lawyer, Kelli Porges, suggested to the jurors that her client was guilty of "nothing but affectionate and playful behavior" that was blown out of proportion by the girls' mother.

"What was playful has been packaged as criminal here," Ms. Porges said in her final summation.

The fiance of the victims' mother said he hoped the guilty verdicts would "start the healing process" for the girls and provide them with "some closure."
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 8, 2007
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