A 33 year old man who says he was raped as a teenager by Rev. George Robichaud, a Roman Catholic priest, met him last year, wired with a recording device and seeking an apology.  Let me say something, Robichaud said at the meeting, according to a tape played on the second day of testimony in his trial.  You know I was drinking.  I didn't mean to do anything to hurt you...I played affectionately; um, I am sorry.  The man, now a trooper, replied, And I forgive you.  Robichaud, 58, who was accused of raping the teen in 1985, has admitted to inappropriate sexual contact with the former altar boy, but pleaded not guilty to rape and attempted rape.  He has been on leave since he was accused last year. He faced 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison on the rape charge under sentencing guidelines in effect in 1985.  The same crime today would carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years.

A judge declared a mistrial yesterday after the jury deadlocked on the rape and attempted-rape charges against Robichaud.  Another trial will likely be held.  Separately, Robichaud faces a rape charge involving a different altar boy.  That plaintiff has also filed a civil suit against him.

(Laconia, New Hampshire)