PORTLAND — He went to his son’s high school football games, paid taxes, and performed jury duty. In more than three decades, Gary Alan Irving was apparently in trouble just once: He got a speeding ticket. When police showed up last week at his suburban home in Gorham, Maine, after a 34-year manhunt, Irving was baking an eclair cake for one of his wife’s co-workers.
But Irving, 52, had a dark secret: In summer 1978, he kidnapped and raped three young women, stood convicted, but then fled before he could be sentenced. He wound up in Maine, where he had camped as a child , and raised a family using his brother’s name.
On Monday morning, that family huddled together in a Portland courtroom and watched as Irving, handcuffed and dressed in yellow prison garb, told a judge he would not challenge extradition.
A few hours later, he appeared in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, where Judge Kenneth Fishman ordered him held without bail pending a status hearing on April 12.
In Portland, family members left court without speaking to reporters and did not appear to attend proceedings in Dedham.
“The person they thought of as a husband and father for 30-plus years is somebody else, and a lot of people have a completely different version of this person,” Irving’s lawyer in Maine, Christopher Leddy, said after the morning hearing. “That’s a surreal event. . . . They’re just still in shock.”
In Norfolk Superior Court, prosecutor Michele Armour argued for a speedy sentencing.
“The victims in this case have been waiting 34 years,” she said. Irving was silent and stared straight ahead throughout the proceedings.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey has said that prosecutors are allowed to seek up to a life sentence with parole for Irving, but he has ddeclined to comment on what specific sentence will be sought.
In June 1979, Irving, originally from Rockland, was convicted of raping three young women the summer before in Norfolk County. He would drive around looking for teenagers and young women he wanted to assault, and when he spotted a potential victim, he would drive ahead, park, and hide in the bushes. He was often armed with a knife.
He was scheduled to be sentenced June 29, 1979, but disappeared. At the time of his conviction, his father was a captain in the Rockland auxiliary police force, according to State Police Detective Lieutenant Michael Farley.
State Police and the Norfolk district attorney’s office have declined to comment on what tipped them off to Irving’s whereabouts.
“Long hours on their own time, weekends, and they did a great job,” Farley said of the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section of the State Police, after court in Dedham.
Farley said that Irving said little when he was apprehended in Maine. “Then on the trip on the way back, he was asked when he stopped looking over his shoulder, and he said he never did,” he said.
Asked how he thought Irving was able to hide for so long, Farley said computer technology was less advanced during much of Irving’s time as a fugitive.
“I think that really allowed him to do this and allowed him to use the identification that he created,” Farley said.
Irving assumed his brother’s name, according to Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio, and was living as Gregory A. Irving. Police have not released information about Irving’s family in Massachusetts.
His family in Gorham — a wife, an adult son and daughter, and a 3-year-old granddaughter — had no idea of his past, said Leddy.
“With all due respect to what happened in Massachusetts, you have to understand the story that is Maine’s has to do with a gentleman named Gregg Irving,’’ Leddy said. “And Gregg Irving’s life in Maine has been relatively normal, for all intents and purposes.”
Irving still prefers to be called Gregg, said Leddy, and his main concern since his arrest has been his family. Still, Leddy said, it would be “a very strange circumstance” for a convicted rapist to go from committing violent assaults to being a law-abiding citizen.
“Those two things don’t fit,’’ Leddy said. “The person that lived in Gorham, Maine, that most people knew, he is loved by his family, he is loved by his friends, and that’s how he lived his life in Gorham.
“So it’s very hard for the family to reconcile, as it would be for any of us.’’
Gorham and Maine State Police are combing through open rape cases across the state, looking to see if there are crimes resembling the attacks that resulted in Irving’s conviction in Massachusetts.
In addition to facing sentencing for the rapes, Irving is expected to be charged with possessing firearms as a convicted felon.
When police searched his Gorham home, they found four rifles, four shotguns, a six-shot revolver, a pellet gun, and nearly 300 rounds of ammunition, according to State Police.
Irving’s lawyer said the guns were an inheritance from a family friend and one was a hunting weapon.
Irving is being held at the Norfolk County Correctional Center in Dedham, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman said.Evan Allen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter@EvanMAllen.