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Mistrial declared in Franklin County rape case

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A mistrial was declared Friday in a high profile rape case in Franklin County. Michael Scaringe was arrested in January 2010 on charges of raping a then 13-year-old girl while he was director of the Saranac Lake Youth Center. As Chris Knight reports, the mistrial was declared after Scaringe dismissed one of his defense attorneys.

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Reported by

Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

Scaringe's decision to dismiss Brian Barrett of Lake Placid as his lawyer was unexpected. It came one day after a jury was finally seated for the trial and the prosecution and the defense delivered opening statements in the case.

Neither Scaringe or his other defense attorney, Mary Rain of Ogdensburg, would say why Barrett was dismissed.

But Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne said Rain cited conduct by her co-counsel, Barrett, as her reason for seeking a mistrial.

"There clearly were issues between the two defense attorneys," Champagne said, "and then there were clearly issues between the defense counsel and the defendant."

In his opening statement, Barrett called the alleged victim the architect of a "titanic lie" but he also said some things that may have upset Scaringe and his family. At one point he called his client a "weirdo" and during jury selection he told prospective jurors that Scaringe "may give you the creeps."

Reached Friday evening, Barrett said his behavior was "totally appropriate" and that he thought Scaringe needed an outside-the-box defense.

The case will now be put on a future trial calendar.

Scaringe, 63, was arrested on New Year's Day, 2010, for allegedly raping the girl at his home in Saranac Lake. He was later indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on charges of second-degree rape, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

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