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Brother says former city teacher is 'being railroaded'
Martine Gambale, a former teacher at McLaughlin Middle School in Manchester, sits with her public defender, Robert Swales, at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester on Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
After meeting with defense and prosecuting attorneys for 70 minutes in chambers, Judge David A. Garfunkel briefly took the bench to inform the victims’ families and Gambale’s family and friends that both sides agreed to continue the hearing “to address matters that have been raised.”
But those with an interest in the case or associated with the parties involved privately said the victims’ families objected to the negotiated plea agreement Gambale, 56, of Hillsborough reached with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office Jan. 9 less than two weeks before her case was scheduled to go to trial.
The plea agreement is a recommendation to the court. It would be up to Judge Garfunkel to accept it.
She was indicted Aug. 17, 2012 on three charges — all Class A misdemeanors which typically are handled at the district court level and carry a maximum penalty of one-year jail time. But prosecutors brought Gambale’s case before a grand jury and sought expanded penalties of 2 to 5 years imprisonment since the alleged victims were under 13 years old.
“What my sister can do to keep children calm, collected and controlled is amazing,” he added. Her supporters included a parent of a former student, her sister, Ginette Healy of Nyack, N.Y., her boyfriend, and Deacon James Rock of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Henniker.
He questioned why the three “circumvented the entire school system” and went to police six months later. He also questioned what he claimed were lack of medical records to support the alleged assaults.
Gambale worked as a special education teacher at McLaughlin Middle School at least since 2008.
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