A MESSAGE TO “FATHER” LEON GAULIN, ST THOMAS MORE PARISH IN DURHAM NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
A MESSAGE TO “FATHER” LEON GAULIN, ST THOMAS MORE PARISH IN DURHAM NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Hey Leon, you pedophile psycho!!! How has been your life you disgusting piece of shit? Oh I know how your life has been. The investigator for Peter Hutchins told me quite a bit about your sorry ass.
Gee…like I know, unlike myself, you never missed one single meal, or had to worry where your next meal came from. Myself? Sometimes I had to dive into dumpsters and eat canned cat food.
I know how you NEVER had to worry about a roof over your head. While I have slept under bridges, houses, in parks, being homeless sometimes for months at a time.
We’re your dreams sweet Leon? Did you ever dream or have a nightmare about what you and the others did to me that night? I know now there were others with you Leon. I know why you gave me that drink of water. Funny how I do not remember pretty much anything after that…but I know something more horrifying happened to me at the hands of you and other priests that night. Did you dedicate me to the service of Satan? Did you sacrifice my soul on your altar? Is that why I felt I was a demon afterwards, so much so that I took the name of Damien from The Omen movies as my name? Why Leon, does Desmonds name stick in my head? Was he there? Did he rape me too along with a few others? I remember Desmond from St Charles. So tell me Leon, did you all seriously have to destroy everything about me that night? Do you feel proud of all the pain, suffering, horror that you brought and caused in my life?
As for myself Leon, I wish you could experience some of my nightmares, where I am in hell, being gang-raped by priests, and the very demons of hell. Typically Leon they end with you. See you now have the face of a demon, but I know it is you. You come over, rip off my dick and eat it. I feel EVERYTHING in these nightmares Leon. I sure wish you could experience them like I do.
WE KNOW YOU DID IT LEON GAULIN…WE KNOW IT. I KNOW WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND SOUL YOU RAPED ME, THAT EVERYTHING I SAID YOU DID TO ME THAT NIGHT, THAT NIGHT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO KEEP ME SAFE FROM HARM, THAT YOU FORCED ME INTO DOING THINGS THROUGH YOUR FUCKING PERVERSE USE OF YOUR PSYCHOTIC RELIGION. YOU RAPED ME LEON GAULIN, YOU SUCKED MY DICK TO SUCK THE DEMON OUT OF ME, YOU FORCED ME TO SUCK YOUR DICK TO TAKE YOUR SACRED SACRAMENT AND THEN YOU RAPED ME ANALLY WHILE FORCING ME TO DO PENNANCE WHILE YOU THREATENED ME WITH THE FIRES OF HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY IF I TOLD ANYONE ABOUT YOUR SPECIAL HEALINGS.
YOU PROVED YOUR DAMN GUILT THE MOMENT YOU DISCONNECTED YOUR PHONE AND PUT YOUR HOUSE UP FOR SALE IN MAINE AND LEFT FOR FLORIDA WITH YOUR HUSBAND, ESPECIALLY RIGHT AFTER THE INVESTIGATOR SAW YOU.
Here is my whole point of this Leon Gaulin and St Thomas More parish and all of you there, and to the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophiles along with that nasty, disgusting Bill Pig Face Donohue of the Catholic League.
ALL OF THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING YOUR ACTIONS HAVE CAUSED ME? I DON’T WANT IT ANYMORE!!! I DON’T WANT THE NIGHTMARES, I DON’T WANT ALL THIS EVIL YOU HAVE BROUGHT TO ME AND SCREWED MY LIFE WITH. I AM NOT THE DEMON, I AM NOT THE SATAN, I AM NOT THE ONE WHO WILL BE BOUND TO YOUR HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY. NO, NO MORE YOU LOW LIVES….NO MORE YOU SCUM….NO MORE YOU PEDOPILES, YOU DEFENDERS OF PEDOPHILES AND YOU WHO DARE CALL THEM HOLY MEN OF GOD!!!! NO MORE DO YOU FREAKING UNDERSTAND ME!!!
ALL OF THIS, ALL OF THIS EVIL YOU BROUGHT INTO MY LIFE, ALL OF THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING, ALL OF THIS TORMENT, ALL OF IT…..NOW BELONGS TO YOU LEON GAULIN, TO YOU THE OTHER PRIESTS OF ST THOMAS MORE WHO PARTICIPATED IN MY RAPE, ALL OF YOU PARISHIONERS OF THAT PARISH WHO STAND UP AND DEFEND THEM, ALL OF YOU PEDOPHILE PIMPS, LIKE CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ET AL, AND YOU BILL DONOHUE OF THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE….ALL OF THIS IS NOW YOURS!!!!
YOU WILL ALL NOW SUFFER JUST LIKE I HAVE BECAUSE OF YOUR ACTIONS AGAINST ME. YOU ALL WILL NOW RECEIVE ALL THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING YOU CAUSED ME IN YOUR LIVES. ALL OF IT…..AND ALL THAT GOOD YOU ALL GET? THE BEING FED, HOUSED AND NEVER HAVING TO WORRY AGAIN ABOUT THOSE THINGS? NOW COME TO ME.
ALL OF THIS EVIL NOW RETURNS TO YOU ALL A HUNDRED FOLD. A THOUSAND FOLD. YOU ALL WILL NOW SUFFER THE NIGHTMARES I HAVE. YOU ALL WILL NOW SUFFER THE GUILT, THE PAIN AND THE EVIL I HAVE….IT NOW ALL BELONGS TO YOU. IT NOW ALL BELONGS ON YOUR HEADS, ON YOUR HEARTS IN YOUR SOULESS BODIES.
I CURSE AND CONDEMN YOU ALL, UNDER THE POWER OF RIGHT AND GOOD AND BEAUTY!!! I CURSE ALL OF YOU FOR STEALING MY LIFE AND GIVING ME ONE OF INCREDIBLE PAIN AND SUFFERING. I CURSE ALL OF YOU WITH THE VERY SAME THINGS YOU ALL DID TO ME. ALL OF THIS EVIL IS NOW YOURS…A HUNDRED FOLD, A THOUSAND FOLD…AND IT IS NO LONGER MINE. I REFUSE IT, I REJECT IT, I SEND IT ALL YOUR WAY, NEVER TO RETURN TO ME EVER AGAIN IN THIS LIFE OR ANY OTHER.
YOU ALL STAND CONDEMEND…BY THE POWER OF LIGHT AND RIGHT…..YOU ALL STAND CONDEMEND BY MY OWN POWER OF BEING MY OWN GOD!!!! I SEND THIS TO ALL OF YOU, TO YOU LEON GAULIN AND TO YOUR DISGUSTING PRIESTLY PSYCHOPATHS WHO RAPED ME THAT NIGHT. I SEND THIS TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF MANCHESTER…FOR DENYING ME MY RIGHT TO JUSTICE. I SEND THIS TO THEIR LAWYER….WHO USED A DISGUSTING LAW TO AVOID PAYING FOR THE CRIMES OF RAPE AND TORTURE AGAINST ME. I SEND THIS TO BILL DONOHUE AND CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN AND ALL THE REST OF THE PEDOPHILE PIMPS OF THE UNHOLY CHURCH, WHO KNOWINGLY COVERED UP THESE CRIMES AND PROTECTED AND DEFENDED THE RAPIST OVER US.
I RETURN ALL OF THIS EVIL TO YOU ALL, A HUNDRED FOLD, A THOUSAND FOLD, FOR IT IS JUST AND RIGHT FOR ALL THE LIVES YOU HAVE RUINED. FOR ALL THE CHILDREN RAPED, BEATEN, BRUTALIZED, FOR ALL THOSE YOU MURDERED, THROUGH YOUR FOUL DEEDS AND CRIMES. FOR ALL THE VICTIMS OF SUICIDE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES BECAUSE OF YOUR CHURCHES DISGUSTING ACTIONS I CONDEMN YOU ALL.
YOU STAND CONDEMEND BY THE LIGHT AND THE POWER OF A GOD YOU HAVE NO CLUE OR UNDERSTANDING OF. FOR I AM THAT GOD, AS ALL OF US ARE, AND I STAND IN THE LIGHT, NOT THE DARKNESS AS YOU DO AND I CONDEMN YOU ALL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO HUMANITY AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD!!!!
YOU STAND CONDEMNED, UNTIL YOU ADMIT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE AND YOU PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES!!!! OR WHEN YOU DIE? YOU WILL FIND OUT THAT HELL IS REAL AND THAT IS WHERE YOUR SOULS WILL BE UNTIL YOU ADMIT THERE WHAT YOU DID WRONG AND PAY FOR IT. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL YOUR SOULS BE RELEASED FROM THIS CURSE, THIS CONDEMNATION OF ALL OF YOU.
FOR I AM THE LIGHT, I AM NOT THE EVIL YOU ALL ARE….AND I NO LONGER ACCEPT YOUR JUDGEMENT OF MY BEING SO. I THROW THIS BACK AT ALL OF YOU, WITH POWER AND MIGHT AND LIGHT THAT NONE OF YOU CAN EVER OVERCOME OR DEFEAT. FOR YOU ARE CURSED BY THIS LIGHT, BY THIS POWER BECAUSE OF YOUR EVIL AGAINST CHILDREN AND AGAINST MANKIND. YOU ARE JUDGED EVIL BY THIS LIGHT AND AS SUCH, YOU MUST PAY FOR YOUR EVILS AGAINST THE WORLD.
YOU CANNOT OVERCOME THIS. THIS BELONGS TO ALL OF YOU AS YOUR KARMA. FOR AS YOU SOW….SO SHALL YOU REAP.
YOU SOWED HORROR, YOU SOWED PAIN AND SUFFERING, TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF US AS CHILDREN AND TEENS AND NOW IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO REAP WHAT YOU HAVE SOWN. NOW IT IS TIME, FOR ALL OF THIS HORROR, ALL OF THIS PAIN AND SUFFERING OF MILLIONS FALL ONTO YOUR SHOULDERS. ONTO YOUR HEADS AND INTO YOUR LIVES.
SO BE PREPARED LEON GAULIN AND ALL THE REST. CAUSE HELL IS COMING FOR YOU. PAIN AND SUFFERING WILL BE YOUR LOT. YOU ALL WILL LOSE EVERYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR….JUST LIKE YOU ALL DID TO US. YOU ALL WILL PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES AGAINST US. YOU WILL KNOW THIS WITH A FRIGHTENED HEART AND YOUR DEAD SOULS WILL KNOW IT TOO. YOU KNOW IT NOW.
SO ONE MORE TIME…..
ALL THE EVIL THAT YOU HAVE DONE TO ME, ALL THE PAIN AND SUFFERING, ALL THE HORROR, ALL THE NIGHTMARES, AND THAT OF THE MILLIONS OF OTHERS SO HARMED BY YOUR DISGUSTING PEDOPHILES…..NOW LEAVES ME AND MY LIFE AND THEIR LIVES AND COMES TO YOURS LEON GAULIN, AND ALL THE REST OF YOU. FOR IT IS NO LONGER MINE OR THEIRS….BUT YOURS.
SO MOTE IT IS….SO MOTE IT BE!!!!
Abuse Alleged at Wellesley Seminary
By Matt Carroll Boston Globe August 10, 2002
WELLESLEY – Today, the Elm Bank estate, nestled in a bend of the Charles River, is a state park and the home of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. A generation ago, the setting was no less idyllic for grammar school graduates who came here to a high school seminary, full of hope they would someday be ordained as Catholic priests.
Some were. Others, however, left the tiny school after they were sexually abused by members of the Stigmatine Fathers, the religious order that ran the seminary. Their accounts describe sexual misbehavior by an extraordinary percentage of the priests who were entrusted with their care.
The school had only 10 to 15 teachers at any one time, according to the alleged victims. Yet four men who contacted the Globe said they were molestedby five Stigmatines at the school – four priests and a religious brother – during a six-year period. One seminarian said he was victimized by three of the priests, and two of the others said they were each molested by two priests. The men attended the school between 1955 and 1961.
Officials of the order knew about the sexual abuse at the time but did nothing to stop it, according to interviews with victims and a document the religious order turned over to one victim. One Stigmatine priest who tried to stop the abuse was twice transferred after alerting superiors to what was going on.
”We went there thinking it was a holy institution,” said John Vellante, who attended as a freshman in 1958 but left a year later. ”It turned out it was a hunting lodge, and we were the captured prey.”
The multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by the Stigmatine clerics are surfacing as the leaders of Catholic religious orders, gathered in Philadelphia for a national conference that ends today, grapple with the orders’ role in a national sexual abuse crisis that has focused mostly on diocesan priests. Almost one-third of the estimated 47,000 Roman Catholic priests in the United States belong to religious orders.
The Rev. Gregory J. Hoppough, the provincial superior of the Stigmatine order, which is based locally in Waltham, referred all questions to attorney Kenneth H. Zimble, who did not return several phone calls from the Globe. The order, known formally as the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata, has about 550 priests worldwide, according to its Web site, but only about 20 active in the United States, according to a priest. The order’s name is drawn from the term used to describe the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ.
Vellante, along with two others who attended Elm Bank, told the Globe they were molested by the Rev. Leo P. Landry, who left the seminary in 1959 and subsequently served as a parish priest in Somersworth, N.H. Landry, who is now 72 and lives in Rochester, N.H., left the priesthood in 1972.
Landry, who faces several civil lawsuits in New Hampshire for allegedly abusing minors, referred questions to the Diocese of Manchester. A diocesan spokesman said there was no record of complaints about Landry during his years in Somersworth.
The Stigmatines also face accusations of sexual abuse outside of Elm Bank. According to two attorneys, six other men have alleged that they were molested as boys by either the Revs. Richard J. Ahern or Joseph E. Flood, both of whom are dead, according to the attorneys. The alleged abuse occurred in Springfield, Agawam, and in New Hampshire during approximately the same time period as the abuse at Elm Bank.
A spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney said the order had turned over the names of alleged Elm Bank abusers, but no investigations had been opened because the alleged crimes are beyond the statute of limitations. Sources said the order had turned over the names of Landry, the Rev. Leo T. Riley, and Brother John Fowler.
Elm Bank was once part of a thriving tradition of minor seminaries that today has largely faded from the landscape. Minor seminaries educate high-school-age boys, while ”major” seminaries, such as St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, are for college-age men.
As recently as the 1960s, there were between 50 and 70 Catholic minor seminaries scattered across the country, supported by local dioceses or religious orders. Today, there are only two that board students and another six day schools, according to the Minor Seminary Association.
Most minor seminaries failed because of drastically declining enrollments, the cost to the diocese of maintaining the schools, and because relatively few of their graduates became priests.
In addition, there have been several sex scandals. St. Thomas Aquinas in Hannibal, Mo., a diocesan minor seminary, shut its doors this spring after its former rector, Bishop Anthony O’Connell, was publicly accused in March of sexually abusing a student at the school in the 1970s. After the allegations surfaced, O’Connell resigned as bishop of Palm Beach, Fla.
Nowadays, the notion that high school-age boys should begin formal seminary training has few adherents. ”Minor seminaries were inherently flawed because the kids were too young,” said Ray Higgins, coauthor of a 1993 report to the Franciscan order on sexual abuse at St. Anthony’s, a minor seminary in Santa Barbara, Calif., that closed in 1987.
Boys that young often aren’t ready to elect a vocational track. They also don’t have a clear enough sense of their own sexuality to be put in such a setting, Higgins said. Because of their confused feelings and isolation from their own families, the boys were that much more vulnerable to the sexual predators who took advantage of them, according to Higgins, whose own son was abused by two priests at St. Anthony’s.
The former students described Elm Bank as, on the surface, an idyllic place. The school was tiny, with no more than 30 students in all four grades. Classes might have two or three students, and some of the teachers were brilliant, said the men. The boys rose early for Mass and worked hard in class, but there was time for sports, prayer, and contemplation. They lived dormitory style in a century-old 40-room brick mansion or in other buildings on the property.
The Stigmatines bought the former estate in 1941 and ran the school and summer camps until shortly before they sold it to the state in 1971. The property is now known as Elm Bank Reservation and is a Metropolitan District Commission park and the headquarters of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
But while the men said they enjoyed the educational atmosphere and the facilities, they also suffered incalculable damage from the men who allegedly molested them.
Abuse ranged from single incidents of fondling to several years of sex. All four men said they have contacted the order about the abuse. Two of the four have received financial settlements in recent years.
Vellante, 57, a Boston Globe sportswriter who retired a year ago, said Landry, under the guise of providing the 13-year-old with sex education, would have him drop his pants and would masturbate him. Almost always, immediately or within days, Landry would don the stole priests use to hear confessions and have Vellante confess to the sin he had just committed.
”I know it sounds weird,” Vellante said in an interview yesterday. ”But we were brought up to believe the priest was God and that he was to be revered and obeyed, that anything he said was right and that he could do no wrong.” Vellante has not filed a lawsuit but said he believes Landry deserved to be prosecuted for what he did.
Two other former students, David Leonard and a successful Massachusetts businessman who asked to remain anonymous, said they told school officials about the abuse at the time it was happening, but nothing was done.
Leonard, 58, who was born in South Boston and now lives in Frankfort, N.Y., said he was molested twice by Stigmatines – once as an 11-year-old at a summer camp and again at Elm Bank. Leonard said he told the Rev. Joseph Henchey, his prefect, and Henchey tried to have the abusers punished but was instead punished himself by the order.
At a meeting arranged with the Stigmatines two weeks ago, Henchey told Leonard that, after he learned of the alleged abuse, he had unsuccessfully pressed the order to deal with abusive priests. Instead, Henchey said the order at least twice transferred him after he complained, according to Leonard and the Rev. Geoffrey J. Deeker, a Stigmatine who attended the meeting. Henchey, who did not dispute the story, declined to comment.
Leonard said he has had mental health problems for decades. In 1978, he doused himself with gasoline and tried to set himself on fire outside a Stigmatine building in Newton. But the matches wouldn’t light. He was committed to a state mental hospital for nearly a year. He has reached a financial settlement with the order.
The businessman, who recently brought his complaint to the order, received in reply a letter which acknowledged that he told them of the abuse when it happened and that no one had investigated. The businessman said he was molested at the school for four years by Riley, a teacher. While at school, the businessman told the Rev. Charles F. Egan, at the time the head of the order in North America, and the priest was transferred. When the businessman this spring raised more questions about the abuse, the order questioned Egan.
”I did not conduct any further investigation,” Egan wrote in a letter, a copy of which the order gave the businessman. ”I cannot remember sharing this information with others, or entering this matter into any record.” He did not even tell the victim’s parents.
Riley died in 1995. The businessman said he attended the priest’s wake because he wanted to see him dead in his casket. The businessman said he was also molested by Landry and another Stigmatine.
John Neely, formerly of Newton and who now works in Texas for the state prison system, said he was abused by two Stigmatine priests. Neely and his attorney said the Stigmatines settled his claim for $15,000.
Neely, 52, said that when he was 14 he was masturbated by Ahern and later, while at a summer camp at Elm Bank, by Landry. He said he sunk into years of alcoholism and recently ended his third marriage.
He said the abuse twisted his moral compass for years. ”When a trusted authority figure violates the innocence of a child, what they do is turn north to west, so you never know where you are going,” he said. ”You trust untrustworthy people and don’t trust trustworthy people.”
Matt Carroll be be reached at email@example.com.
This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 8/10/2002.
But Why Isn’t Bernard Law in Jail? (Part 2)
By Dahlia Lithwick Updated Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002, at 6:33 PM
Almost a year ago, Slate‘s “Explainer” answered the question: Why isn’t Boston’s Cardinal Law in jail? The question was somewhat rhetorical. Since Massachusetts didn’t have a mandatory reporting law, the answer was that the cardinal was under no legal obligation to come forward with information about sexual abuse of children by priests he’d supervised.
Almost a year later, more lawsuits have been filed, depositions have been taken, church documents have been turned over, and we have a clearer picture of what precisely the cardinal has done, or not done, over the past decade and a half. What’s emerged is horrifying. Law was not only aware of egregious sexual misconduct among his subordinates but was apparently engaged in elaborate efforts to cover up incident after incident of child rape. Worse yet, he breezily reassigned clergy known for sexually abusing children to work with more children—conduct not all that distinguishable from leaving a loaded gun in a playground.
Last week, under increasing pressure, Law resigned. Many Americans breathed a sigh of relief. But many also wondered, silently: “Is that all? Does Law get to pack up his hat and retire to Orlando and a second career in canasta?” And the question lingers, more urgently than it did a year ago: Why haven’t criminal charges been filed against him? What Law has done goes far beyond “not reporting” suspected child abusers. This was no crime of omission. It is now clear that Law affirmatively engaged in a pattern of shielding child rapists and recklessly allowing them unfettered access to yet more victims. A high-school principal or the CEO of any company in America would have been indicted months ago.
The evidence speaks for itself: Last spring, Law admitted in a deposition that he was aware that John Geoghan had reportedly raped at least seven young boys in 1984 yet nevertheless approved the transfer of Geoghan to another parish, working with other boys. Other documents revealed that Law similarly knew of and ignored decades of reported child abuse by Paul Shanley, placing Shanley in ministries with access to other children. Shanley is currently facing trial on 10 charges of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery. Law is jetting back and forth to Rome.
Throughout his tenure, Law seemed to reserve his warmest sympathy for the abusers, not the victims. He lied to a West Coast bishop about Shanley’s history. He signed a document attesting that another known child-molesting priest, Redmond Raux, had “nothing in his background” to make him “unsuitable to work with children.” Last week, more court documents revealed that the archdiocese gave new jobs to two priests, one of whom was known to have molested boys while the other had supplied cocaine to a teenage lover. Law’s responses to these and earlier disclosures? The molesters had been cleared by physicians; the church kept bad records; his subordinates vetted the transfers; he forgot; he never knew; he’s sorry.
“Sorry” may not be good enough. Not for the victims—many of whose lives would not have been devastated but for Law’s recklessness—and not for the rest of us. According to a summer poll conducted by ABC News and Beliefnet.com, eight out of 10 Americans believe bishops who failed to act on abuse allegations should be prosecuted criminally.
This message may finally be getting through. It’s been suggested that Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly was being soft on Law to protect his elected position among Catholic voters. Similarly, the Los Angeles Times reported that L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley went far too easy on Los Angeles’ Cardinal Roger Mahoney because, as a Catholic himself, Cooley was too conflicted to zealously pursue the investigation. But the tide seems to be turning, and finally prosecutors have begun to empanel grand juries to investigate criminal wrongdoing in the upper echelons of the church. While only individual priests and no church leaders have so far been charged with crimes, over a dozen states have started to turn their criminal law machinery on the supervisors.
And last week, Law and seven bishops who worked for him were subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury. Attorney General Thomas Reilly is finally making noises suggesting that the cover-up on the part of the church leaders was indeed criminal. For months, he had been insisting that there were simply no criminal laws on the books under which Law could be charged.
Reilly should consider taking a page from John Ashcroft’s book. The U.S. attorney general, never a man to be deterred by a shortage of enforceable laws, alternately invents new ones or rejiggers existing ones to suit his ends. It’s long past time that Reilly, Cooley, and their counterparts around the country started filing indictments. And their legal theory should be simple: A church official who knowingly puts a habitual child molester in a position to abuse more vulnerable children is aiding and abetting a crime.
The conventional wisdom is that getting criminal convictions won’t be simple. Reilly is correct that without child endangerment statutes, Massachusetts will have a tough time finding a hook for criminal prosecutions. (Child endangerment statutes were finally enacted in September in Massachusetts, but they cannot be applied retroactively). One tack being considered by Reilly’s office is to pursue church leadership under a state statute that criminally prosecutes companies for failures to stop wrongdoing by their employees—corporate vicarious criminal liability. Under this rule, the archdiocese could be sued as a corporation, just like any other, and Law would be liable merely because he was in a position of authority to prevent the crimes but didn’t. The penalty is fines, not jail time, but it’s a start.
Another route involves prosecuting church leaders for obstruction of justice. Some experts say that the Boston Archdiocese hasn’t actually obstructed any criminal investigation; it did turn over its documents. But in Phoenix, Ariz., prosecutors have suggested that Bishop Thomas O’Brien may soon face criminal obstruction charges for allegedly counseling victims’ families not to approach police.
One more tack being considered by the Massachusetts AG’s office is to file charges against Law as an accessory after the fact to the abuse. But to be an accessory, experts insist that you must intend for the abuse to occur; in other words, it’s not enough that Law knew his subordinates would molest again. It seems that not caring one way or another is insufficient.
In some jurisdictions RICO suits have been filed, using racketeering laws to prosecute the seemingly untouchable higher-ups in the church. Although early this month, a Cleveland grand jury cleared two bishops of racketeering charges, finding that their mishandling of sex abuse claims didn’t amount to criminal racketeering. This was a pretty creative use of the RICO laws, and it might work in other cases where the supervisors were more complicit in the coverups.
Last week, New Hampshire got a taste of how criminal indictments—or the threat of criminal indictments—may play out in the coming months. In settling a civil case, the Diocese of Manchester admitted that, had criminal charges been filed, the diocese itself would likely have been found guilty. Whether this kind of admission will embolden other prosecutors to file criminal charges or just use the threat as leverage in civil suits remains to be seen. But what’s becoming clear across the country is that the taboo is broken; that the church can still be a holy institution, but its criminals are not sacred. Civil suits and cash reparations are just not enough. Church elders who unloosed monsters on suffering children for decades cannot be treated as though they were above the law. Shakespeare wrote: “The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept.” It’s past time for the law to wake up and punish the guilty.
Bishop John McCormack files: Bishop: Church brass hid sex scandal
By Eric Convey and Tom Mashberg Boston (MA) Herald June 4, 2002
Manchester, N.H. — A bishop who served as Bernard Cardinal Law’s top personnel aide for a decade testified yesterday that Archdiocese of Boston leaders kept a wave of clergy abuse allegations secret because telling the faithful in the affected parishes might have created “a scandal.”
Bishop John B. McCormack, 67, now head of the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., gave the explanation under oath in a deposition in the Rev. Paul R. Shanley abuse case, witnesses to his questioning said.
“He said he didn’t want to create a scandal,’ ” said a visibly incensed Rodney Ford, whose son, Greg, now 24, is suing Law, McCormack, Shanley and the Catholic Church for numerous rapes alleged to have occurred in the 1980s at St. Jean’s Parish in Newton.
“Well, this is a scandal at its highest,” Ford said. “It’s a disgrace what we have had to go through.”
McCormack, emerging from 5 1/2 hours of questioning by attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., declined to discuss his testimony in detail or answer questions from reporters. “I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity to begin answering the questions that people have, that lawyers have,” said the embattled bishop, who has been urged to resign by The Manchester Union-Leader and numerous others. “I tried to answer them as completely, as thoroughly, as honestly as I could. Thank you for your interest. God bless you.”
The Herald reported yesterday that one document produced as a result of subpoenas in the Shanley case indicates a high-ranking archdiocese nun urged McCormack and others in 1994 that parishes be alerted after their pastors were credibly accused of molestation. Time and again, church documents show, the nun was overruled in favor of secrecy. McCormack admitted yesterday he ignored the nun, Sister Catherine E. Mulkerrin, preferring to stifle the flow of any information to churchgoers.
At one point yesterday, according to Paula Ford, Greg’s mother, who was also at the deposition, McCormack acknowledged that he usually took the word of priests over parishioners when confronted with allegations of child abuse. “In every incident of every alleged victim, he took the word of the priest over the word of the victim,” she said. “When he found out after the fact that the victim was telling the truth, he never took the time to go back to these people and validate their claims.
“This was one of the most painful days of my life,” she said yesterday. “The truth is so painful.”
MacLeish, who is to depose Law tomorrow and Friday, said the testimony also shows that McCormack and his colleagues at the chancery in Brighton ignored Mulkerrin’s advice in violation of a 1992 directive from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stating that lay Catholics should be kept informed of sexual abuse reports. The conference is expected to issue new guidelines on the reporting of abuse by clergy today.
“Had Bishop McCormack taken the advice of Sister Mulkerrin, and gone to the parishes where Paul Shanley and some of these priests had served, and spoken to them and informed the parishioners of what was going on, I don’t think we would be here today,” he said.
MacLeish confirmed a Herald report yesterday that one of Mulkerrin’s memos read: “I know I sound like a broken record. But we need to put in church bulletins `It has come to our attention a priest stationed here between 19XX and 19XX may have molested children – please contact. . .”
MacLeish said his recent deposition of the Rev. Charles J. Higgins, the current archdiocese personnel chief, showed that Boston officials have discussed abuse at just three of the 200 parishes known to have been served by alleged abusers.
The tone of the session was cordial, said Peter Hutchins, a New Hampshire lawyer who also attended because he has cases involving the church. Written and audio-visual transcripts of the deposition could be made available as soon as this afternoon, pending a ruling by Middlesex Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Brassard.
Testimony also included discussions of priests who have not previously been implicated in abuse cases, MacLeish said.
“This is a case about a pattern,” he said. “There were many, many priests who were mentioned today.”
Some questions focused on how the archdiocese handled allegations involving the Rev. Ronald H. Paquin, who is in jail awaiting trial for abuse. Others pertained to a group of priests who attended St. John’s Seminary in Brighton with McCormack in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
They include Revs. Joseph Birmingham, John Geoghan, Bernard Lane and Shanley, all of whom have faced multiple lawsuits.
MacLeish and his law partner, Robert A. Sherman, said soon-to-be released documents include information that could strengthen cases against three or four more priests. They said they planned to make files on 10 more abusive priests public as soon as today.
MacLeish and Sherman stated in court last week that church lawyers were blocking witnesses from cooperating during depositions. There were no such problems with McCormack, MacLeish said.
The Fords said McCormack apologized to them over Shanley. Rodney Ford said he did not take the bishop seriously. Paula Ford said she expects future sessions to produce more troubling details about the church’s handling of the issue.
“I can see the writing on the wall,” she said. “It’s not pretty.”
Bishop John McCormack files: Bishop offers apology to parents of a Shanley accuser
By Matt Carroll Boston (MA) Globe June 4, 2002
Manchester, N.H. — Bishop John B. McCormack apologized yesterday to the parents of a Newton man who allegedly was abused by the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, a onetime Newton pastor who was investigated by McCormack for making past statements endorsing sex between men and boys.
Paula and Rodney Ford, the parents of Gregory Ford, said at a news conference that McCormack spoke to them directly at his deposition here, delivering an apology they described as “awkward” and unconvincing. “He apologized and said he was sorry for what happened,” said Paula Ford.
McCormack, who was a top deputy to Cardinal Bernard F. Law before being named bishop of the Manchester Diocese three years ago, made a brief statement after nearly six hours of sworn pretrial testimony in a lawsuit filed by the Fords.
“I tried to answer as thoroughly, as completely, and as honestly as I could,” said McCormack, who declined to take questions from reporters.
Shanley was arrested last month, accused of raping Paul Busa during the 1980s, when Busa was a child attending religion classes at the now-closed St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton. Shanley has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Roderick MacLeish Jr., the attorney for the Fords in their civil suit against Shanley and Law, is today expected to release copies of approximately 1,000 pages of church documents concerning alleged sexual abuse by 11 priests. MacLeish gained access to the documents through the lawsuit in an attempt to show a pattern of negligent supervision of priests accused of sexual misconduct.
MacLeish is also scheduled to take pretrial testimony from Law in the Ford case tomorrow and again on Friday.
Meanwhile, Bishop Robert J. Banks, another former Law deputy who is now bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisc., will be deposed today by attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing 86 alleged victims of convicted pedophile and former priest John J. Geoghan.
Yesterday, Rodney Ford said he found it difficult to sit through McCormack’s deposition.
“It was one of the most painful days of my life,” said Ford, adding that it was particularly difficult to hear McCormack say that in some cases he never informed alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse that he had discovered they were telling the truth.
McCormack wrote to Shanley about a letter from a New York woman who said Shanley had advocated man-boy love, and asked the priest for an explanation. The Fords also said that during his deposition McCormack said he did not have access to documents in what the bishop called a “secret archive” at the archdiocese.
A transcript of McCormack’s deposition will be made public after a Middlesex Superior Court judge holds a hearing to determine when the transcript should be filed.
At the news conference with the Fords, MacLeish, who has repeatedly condemned the archdiocese this year for hiding the extent of sexual abuse among priests, also criticized a Globe report yesterday that said he and other lawyers secretly settled claims against many priests during the 1990s, all of them individual settlements that had the cumulative effect of masking the extent of the problem. “The last thing we were doing was keeping anything quiet,” said MacLeish.
In an interview last night, MacLeish said he brought the extent of the problem to the attention of Boston news organizations almost a decade ago, but insisted that reporters were uninterested in pursuing the issue.
In December 1993, the Boston Herald and then the Globe quoted MacLeish saying he had brought sexual abuse claims involving 20 priests and 28 alleged victims to the Boston Archdiocese.
In the articles, MacLeish praised the archdiocese for removing the unnamed priests from service, saying the church had done a “commendable job” of handling the issue.
In a letter to the archdiocese’s lawyer less than three months earlier, MacLeish raised complaints against 17 priests, and said that just two of them may have had “potentially hundreds of other” victims.
“It is clear that these cases together reflect a systemic pattern of abuse within the archdiocese and an alarming pattern of institutional negligence on a disturbingly large scale,” MacLeish wrote in the Sept. 27, 1993, letter to Wilson Rogers Jr., the church’s attorney.
The 24-page letter contains extensive details about the specifics of the sexual abuse by the priests. Many of their names, and the allegations, did not become public until this year. MacLeish made the letter public yesterday, he said, because it shows that he and his clients, in addition to seeking monetary settlements, also wanted the archdiocese to ensure that the priests would no longer have access to children. In the letter, MacLeish told Rogers he wanted to have the claims mediated, which was done in private.
Asked last night why he did not make the letter public in 1993, or file lawsuits to get the matter before the public, MacLeish said he did not take those steps because of a need to protect the victims, and because caps on liability for charities like the church made lawsuits less attractive than negotiated settlements.
When the Globe reported on Jan. 31 this year that the Boston Archdiocese had secretly settled claims involving more than 70 priests in the last decade, MacLeish disclosed that his law firm accounted for more than 50 priests.
Philip Saviano, a victim of clergy sexual abuse who hired MacLeish to represent him in the early 1990s, said the lawyer did not go far enough a decade ago to expose the problem.
“What I’m saying is, whether [MacLeish] sees it this way or not, he was part of the big web of secrecy,” said Saviano, who is director of the New England chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “Maybe he thinks he took steps to protect kids, but ultimately I’d say he didn’t go nearly as far as he should have.”
MacLeish, who represented more than 100 victims of former priest James R. Porter in the Fall River Diocese 1992, said the attention to that case and the subsequent private claims he filed against the Boston Archdiocese forced the church to create new policies and remove priests.
Bishop John McCormack files: Church covered up 4 decades of abuse
By Tom Mashberg and Jack Sullivan Boston (MA) Herald June 5, 2002
Documents on 10 suspended clerics released yesterday put Bernard Cardinal Law, three subordinates and even the late Richard Cardinal Cushing at the center of a broad effort to hide the truth about clergy abuse from parishioners, victims and the public.
The damaging new documents on the suspended clerics also reflect unfavorably on the oversight of priests under the long-lionized Cushing as well as Law’s predecessor, the late Humberto Cardinal Medeiros.
“What we now have before us is a four-decade-long pattern of protecting, harboring and covering up for known child molesters,” said attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who released the files and is to depose Law today. “To claim any more that these are isolated cases is absurd.”
The Rev. Christopher R. Coyne, spokesman for Law, conceded yesterday that the latest batch of documents was damaging to his besieged archdiocese. “Once again, it was part of the protective culture of the church of the time,” Coyne said, “and forgetting . . . that the first thing has to be the protection of children.
“It’s going to take a long time to Recover the credibility we’ve lost,” he added.
Included in the files is a three-page handwritten 1993 Law memo in which he details why he let Rev. Eugene M. O’Sullivan be shifted in 1985 to a diocese in New Jersey – even though O’Sullivan had been convicted of raping an Arlington altar boy just a year earlier.
“Boston was not acceptable because of possible scandal,” Law wrote in the 1993 memo, which he apparently prepared after the Associated Press and other news media contacted the chancery about O’Sullivan’s criminal past. “While assignment of a priest under these circumstances is arguable, our present policy does not permit it.”
Nonetheless, after O’Sullivan was bounced from Metuchen, N.J., because of his Bay State convictions, he was allowed by Law to wear his clerical collar for 17 more years – and even served formally at Carney Hospital in Dorchester. The lengths to which Law himself went to assure new priestly duties for O’Sullivan and two other longtime problem pastors – the Revs. Ernest E. Tourigney and Daniel M Graham – are just some of the troubling personnel moves outlined in the files, obtained by MacLeish as part a pretrial investigation of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley.
Other revelations included in the long-hidden files are these:
– Embattled Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., denied over and over to parishioners that Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham was a threat to molest minors, even though Birmingham’s personnel file showed evidence of abuse starting under Cushing in 1964. In April 1987, in his capacity as Law’s secretary for ministerial personnel, McCormack reviewed an emotional inquiry about Birmingham from a male parishioner at St. Ann’s Church in Gloucester. The parishioner, whose son, then 13, was an altar boy under Birmingham, said he learned that Birmingham had been removed from his parish for molesting children, and that the priest had soon after fallen into “poor health.”
Because Birmingham had also preached about AIDS, and was rumored to have engaged in risky sexual practices, the parishioner wrote: “I am concerned about the AIDS situation, and about a priest possibly molesting my son.” He asked Law for an explanation. In answer, McCormack wrote that Law had received the letter and asked McCormack to investigate. McCormack then wrote: “I have contacted Father Birmingham and . . . he assured me there is absolutely no factual basis for your concern regarding your son and him. . . . I feel he would tell me the truth . . . in this matter.”
Birmingham died wasting away from cancer in 1989. Some 40 men have come forward in recent months to file lawsuits against him for abuse, and church files quote him admitting several times under questioning to “sexual improprieties.” Gary Bergeron of Lowell, a Birmingham accuser, said yesterday: “Page after page shows they all knew he was a molester a full decade before he abused me and my brother, but did nothing. It’s incredible to see how these `men of God’ let this go on for so long.”
– The files mark the first clear indications Cushing engaged in cover-ups. The Herald reported last month that Medeiros was deeply implicated in efforts to hide the depredations of defrocked and jailed pedophile James R. Porter. In a letter dated Oct. 1, 1964, a Marshfield couple wrote to Cushing detailing the sexual abuse of their 12-year-old son by O’Sullivan at St. Ann’s Church in Marshfield. In the letter, the couple told Cushing that O’Sullivan had fondled their son, an altar boy, several times that summer. They also informed Cushing of at least four other altar boys who spoke of being sexually abused by O’Sullivan. The couple said they had reported the incidents to the church pastor, who said he would relay their concerns to the archdiocese. The couple later found out the pastor had not followed through. That is when they wrote to Cushing.
“We are taking the liberty of reporting directly to you . . . trusting that you in your wisdom will know best how best to handle the matter,” the couple wrote Cushing.
Shortly after, O’Sullivan was transferred to Our Lady’s Parish in Waltham. That same year, similar accusations were levied, and he was again transferred, next to Point of Pines Church in Revere. An unsigned memo from 1964 acknowledges allegations against O’Sullivan and noted a three-week vacation was arranged beginning June 16, 1964, until July 6, 1964.
“Informed (O’Sullivan) that we would transfer him, effective approx. July 9,” the note states.
And despite Law’s insistence in his 1993 memo there were “no previous reports” of accusations on O’Sullivan, an internal memo from “T.J.D.” to Bishop Alfred Hughes confirmed the O’Sullivan problem. “As far as I can see there is no evidence of treatment following the events of 1964, just transferred etc. . . .,” the memo states.
– Regarding Father Graham, removed in February from St. Joseph’s in Quincy, the papers show he was assigned a “mediator” in 1988 by Bishop Robert J. Banks, now of Green Bay, Wis., a Law aide who was deposed yesterday for his role in the Boston scandal.
The mediator was Shanley, now awaiting trial on three counts of child rape, who acted as middle-man between Graham and the accuser. Shanley referred Graham to Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), a program for sexual addictions loosely based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
“With Fr. Paul Shanley’s help I have discovered a helpful support group, S.L.A.A.,” Graham wrote to his victim. “Meetings are helpful to keep ones sexuality in check.”
Graham was cleared by church officials to resume parish ministry, but in 1992 was charged once again with abusing minors. In a 1996 letter to Graham, Law offered him a dispensation from Law’s 1993 rules governing molester priests so that he could resume parish work.
– The documents also further the evidence that Medeiros allowed pedophile priests to remain in the ministry and transferred rather than disciplined them.
In 1973, Medeiros approved the request of Rev. Ernest E. Tourigney to take a post as student chaplain at Catholic University in Washington. Medeiros knew Tourigney had been transferred to St. Mary’s in Holliston after accusations of molestation at Immaculate Conception Church in Weymouth.
In his letter to Medeiros requesting the post, Tourigney said his stay at St. Mary’s helped “alleviate a long-term difficult situation with the parish, which I have tried to do to the best of my ability.”
“During my years as a priest, I have worked with the youth both on a parish and deanery level,” he wrote. “It is the type of work I enjoy doing the most, find most rewarding and feel most qualified in doing.” The records indicate there were at least eight victims who accused Tourigney of sexually assaulting them. Still, McCormack and Law gave him new slots.
– One of the more sordid tales to emerge from the papers involves accused predatory priest Richard O. Matte. A man alleges he was abused by Matte after he went to the cleric about being sexually abused by another priest at various places, including drug dealers’ houses in the early-1980s.
According to a letter to church lawyers from Robert A. Sherman, the victim’s attorney and MacLeish’s partner, the then-14-year-old boy was the victim of “violent sexual abuse” by the Rev. Richard Buntel from 1979 to 1985. Both Buntel and Matte were assigned to St. Joseph’s Church in Malden.
The victim claimed Buntel befriended him and introduced him to alcohol and marijuana, later feeding him cocaine and exposing him to “violent pornography.”
“On one occasion, two drug dealers associated with Fr. Buntel urged Fr. Buntel to make a pornographic film of him sexually assaulting (the victim),” Sherman wrote. “(The victim) does not know if this film was ever made.”
Bishop John McCormack files: Complaints didn’t dim bishop’s faith in priests Papers shed light on McCormack’s role
From Bishop Accountability.
Original story appeared in the Concord Monitor.
By Annmarie Timmins and Amy McConnell Concord (NH) Monitor June 6, 2002
Bishop John McCormack has said little about his work handling allegations of clergy sexual abuse for the Archdiocese of Boston other than that he mishandled some of the cases. Nearly 1,000 pages of internal church documents involving 10 accused priests released Tuesday provide a better understanding of his role.
McCormack dealt with dozens of difficult allegations with a mixed record, moving priests quickly out of their assignments but showing leniency for some even as the accusations mounted. The files aren’t complete, however, and it is unclear how the church ultimately resolved each case.
McCormack declined to comment for this story through his spokesman, Pat McGee, saying he had not looked at the documents in nearly a decade.
In most cases, McCormack responded to allegations by questioning the priest, asking his staff to question the alleged victims and then immediately sending the priest for treatment to one of two centers the archdiocese favored.
The exception was the case of Father Ernest Tourigney, where the alleged victims complained of McCormack’s dallying response.
It is also clear that during treatment and after, McCormack was unfailingly supportive of the accused priests, even deciding against trying to remove one because he didn’t want to upset him. In another case, he concluded one parent’s concerns were unfounded simply because McCormack knew the accused priest and believed his denials. Here is a closer look at what the files in six of the cases show about McCormack’s involvement:
Last month, McCormack said publicly that he’d mishandled cases of sexual abuse allegations during his time in the archdiocese. Among those, he said, was the case of Joseph Birmingham.
The files show that the church had been receiving complaints of sexual misconduct against Birmingham since 1964. One came from a priest. In 1987, according to the church records, Birmingham resigned for health reasons and went to therapy.
Two months later, Cardinal Bernard Law asked McCormack to respond to a parent who had heard rumors of Birmingham’s misconduct and was worried about his own son, who had been an altar boy for Birmingham.
McCormack knew Birmingham well. The two had been in a seminary together and had served together at a Salem, Mass., parish. McCormack had also heard allegations before.
In April 1987, McCormack followed up on Law’s request and asked Birmingham about the allegations. He wrote back to the parent.
“He assured me there is no factual basis to your concern regarding your son and him,” McCormack wrote. “From my knowledge of Father Birmingham and my relationship with him, I feel he would tell me the truth and I believe he is speaking the truth in this matter.”
McCormack discouraged the man from raising the issue with his son, but he offered the number of the church’s counselors if the father decided otherwise.
Birmingham died in 1989. The archdiocese, McCormack in particular, continued to receive complaints of sexual misconduct against him. Today, nearly 40 men have accused him of abuse.
A lawyer for one victim has accused McCormack of covering up the abuse and helping transfer Birmingham around as the allegations mounted. McCormack has said he had no role in assigning or moving priests while working in Boston.
In 1981, Father Ronald Paquin crashed his car on Interstate 93 in Tilton after spending a weekend with four teenage boys in a Bethlehem cabin. One boy died.
The police report concluded that Paquin had fallen asleep at the wheel. Two months ago, the parents who lost their son filed a wrongful death suit against the church claiming Paquin fell asleep because he’d been up the previous night drinking and having sex with one or more of the boys.
There is almost no mention of the accident in the church files released this week. The files do contain notes and memos on nearly 20 allegations that came to the archdiocese against Paquin between 1990 and 2000.
At least eight of those victims came forward when McCormack worked in Boston. Paquin admitted some of the abuse, acknowledged his sexual attraction to boys and showed no empathy for his victims, according to internal church records.
McCormack’s response to the allegations was to send Paquin for treatment, assign him a mentor and restrict his ministry so he wasn’t serving with children.
“I told (Paquin) that it was important for him to go to (treatment) because of the civil liabilities of the archdiocese and our moral obligations to the parishioners involved,” McCormack wrote in Paquin’s file in June 1990. Still, complaints continued to come to McCormack that Paquin was spending time alone with boys. McCormack asked Paquin about the allegations and recommended continued treatment and restricted ministry.
“I think there is a serious concern how he has expressed his care and concern for young boys,” McCormack wrote in Paquin’s file in September 1990. “It seems to be from mixed motives. It seems that he does have a true concern for them, but also he has his own needs of affection which get expressed in unhealthy ways.”
McCormack put Paquin on sick leave and sent him to Maryland for treatment. “I told him the archdiocese wants to help him in every way.”
McCormack also met with concerned parishioners from Paquin’s church. He took their concerns to Paquin and asked Paquin how he planned to change his ways. He noted Paquin’s response, including a plan to stop allowing boys to sleep in his bed.
Six months later, Paquin was nearing the end of his treatment in Maryland, and McCormack was preparing to put Paquin back to work, perhaps doing hospital or nursing home ministry.
“We agreed that he is not free to work with young people,” McCormack wrote, “even though there is very little, if any, concern about his acting out impulsively.”
McCormack assigned Paquin to live in a Massachusetts parish and found him work at a hospital. Meanwhile, allegations about Paquin’s past abuse and current behavior came to the archdiocese. A priest, among others, reported that Paquin was visiting boys from his former parish.
In March 1994, an aide asked McCormack whether the archdiocese could do more than simply offer counseling to the victims who called. Internal church documents show that officials believed it was likely there were more victims than had come forward.
“Should we be making some kind of contact with any place Ron Paquin has been stationed?” Father John Dooher wrote. There is no indication in the church documents that McCormack responded or that the archdiocese pursued that recommendation.
Three months later, in June 1994, McCormack and his review board, which helped him decide the fate of accused priests, concluded that Paquin should be banned from public ministry and suggested that Paquin ask to be removed from the priesthood. Paquin refused, and neither McCormack nor the review board insisted. In the next six years, after McCormack had left the archdiocese, the review board urged Paquin to remove himself from the priesthood three more times. He refused each request.
By 2000, the last date noted in the church records released, the archdiocese had received 20 complaints against Paquin.
The case of Father John Hanlon is unlike the others in that it is the only one that was investigated by the police. The records do not say how the police became involved, but by the time McCormack entered the picture in August 1993, Hanlon was headed to a criminal trial.
McCormack’s name appears on just one memo in the case. In August 1993, he summarized the allegations against Hanlon for the church’s personnel files and noted that he asked fellow priests to help him reach the alleged victim.
“We want to be of help to the young man as well as to take whatever steps need to be taken to address this matter,” McCormack wrote.
Hanlon was convicted in a Massachusetts court in March 1994 of two charges of rape and two charges of assault with intent to rape. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences.
McCormack took five allegations of sexual misconduct to Father Paul Mahan in August 1993 and listened as Mahan said he was innocent. Still, McCormack told Mahan he’d have to be assessed and go on administrative leave.
Law asked McCormack to follow up on the suggestion of one victim’s parent that the church do more to support parents. The parent suggested a support group just for parents of victims.
“It is my hope that we can gather in church and through prayer and worship have a further opportunity to ask God to be with us in these difficult days,” Law wrote to the parent.
The file does not indicate whether McCormack followed up.
In October 1994, nearly a year after McCormack first approached Mahan, he received a report from another priest who was concerned that Mahan had his young nephew and two young friends living with him in his Massachusetts home. McCormack told Mahan that had to end. But McCormack did not initially ask the boys whether they had been harmed. McCormack, who had a master’s degree in social work by this time, thought to do so after a doctor suggested it.
An unsigned memo in the file shows that church officials contacted a state social worker to help them interview the boys and discussed the possibility of reporting any findings to the state.
When McCormack was told in June 1992 that Father Ernest Tourigney needed six months of psychiatric treatment, the priest had allegedly molested at least three boys – one of them for eight years – in several Massachusetts parishes, according to church documents.
In late June, Law and McCormack met with several alleged victims, who later told McCormack the archdiocese was operating in a “circle the wagons” mentality. At that meeting, Law and McCormack told victims that Tourigney would not return to parish work, according to their letter.
But the archdiocesan response was too slow and meager for a victim named James, who hired a lawyer.
“However, even though Fr. Tourigney was allowed to remain a Priest,his behavior was not addressed and my client was totally ignored,” wrote the lawyer. “He was not comforted or offered counseling. He was neglected and made to believe that the Church had no compassion or desire to confront Fr. Tourigney and remove him from contact with Parishioners.”
Two months later – and eight months after their initial meeting with Law and McCormack – Tourigney’s victims still weren’t satisfied by the archdiocese’s actions. McCormack, they said, had promised the matter would be resolved in a meeting with Tourigney just after the holidays.
“We are into February, and while he vacations on the Cape, the Archdiocese is rife with indecision,” said their letter of February 1993. “On a recent trip to Boston, I and (name blocked out) phoned your office. I left an urgent message of my itinerary, stated when I would be leaving, and asked to hear from you. It is now February 20, 1993 and neither I nor (name blocked out) have heard a word from you.”
More than a month later, McCormack tried to set up a meeting between Law and one of the victims. The victim, McCormack said, wanted to voice his concerns about how the archdiocese handled priests who had admitted to sexual abuse.
“You may recall that after (Tourigney) was assessed at Southdown for these matters he was returned to parish ministry,” McCormack wrote in March 1993. “Mr. (name blocked out) cannot get over this and wants to make sure that you and I and anyone who was responsible realizes that this should not happen again. I think it might be helpful in his healing process to meet with you for a half hour some time with me.”
By May 1993, Tourigney had been placed on administrative leave. But that’s not all his victims wanted of the archdiocese. The archdiocese needed to begin handling sexual abuse by priests as a criminal matter and creating investigative teams to find other abused children, they wrote to McCormack in August 1993. The church’s reluctance to do so appeared to be based on “potential negative political ramifications,” they stated.
By the next spring, archdiocesan officials had become skeptical that their containment and supervision of Tourigney had reformed his urges. Tourigney, one official advised McCormack, should be asked to leave the priesthood for private life – even though he might pose a risk to the public.
“Then he would be free to accept such offers as he sees fit,” the official wrote in May 1994. “It is not a happy solution, because it leaves him as a potential danger to young men, but perhaps the seriousness of the invitation might get him to think of more effective ways to deal with his problem.”
No records indicate whether Tourigney left the priesthood or where he lives today.
In 1992, McCormack summarized three allegations of sexual misconduct against Father Richard Matte – one of which came from a concerned priest – and admitted he was unsure how to proceed.
Matte denied the accusations but volunteered that he’d been falsely accused years before. The case had never been resolved, but Matte said he had gone for treatment.
“I am not sure what side to support in the understanding of Father Matte’s behavior,” McCormack wrote in Matte’s personnel file. “Part of me sees him as being very indiscreet. He also speaks about not remembering things. Then I wonder whether he is denying.”
McCormack sent Matte to a Maryland treatment center for an assessment. The file does not include the center’s response, but by the time an additional allegation came to McCormack’s office in April 1993, Matte was at a Canadian treatment center the church used often.
In a letter to Matte, McCormack relayed the new allegations and offered support. “I am sure this report will be upsetting to you, Dick,” he wrote. “If there is something I can do to help, Dick, let me know. You are in my prayers.”
McCormack continued to offer support, even deciding against asking Matte to remove himself from the priesthood for fear he was already too emotionally unstable. At the time, McCormack knew Matte had told doctors the accusations weren’t entirely untrue, according to the records.
McCormack and his review board decided in November 1993 that Matte should find a counselor and work outside of public ministry. They would not put him in a parish or in a role where he’d be near adolescent males.
In May 1994, McCormack took two more allegations to Matte and noted in the file that Matte was devastated. Again he was supportive.
Matte didn’t like the place McCormack had found for him, so McCormack offered to keep looking. “He has to park his car on the street,” McCormack wrote. “He is fearful it could be stolen or damaged.”
Matte’s file ends with an April 1998 memo detailing another complaint from a man who said Matte’s abuse had made it impossible to have a close relationship with his son and wife. “He is . . . afraid that maybe he can never change, even though he wants to,” wrote the nun who spoke with him.
Diocese names 14 accused of abuse
February 16, 2002|By Items compiled from Tribune news services
MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The Diocese of Manchester on Friday named 14 Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual misconduct with children from 1963-87.
The diocese, which covers New Hampshire, gave the names to prosecutors and the public after reviewing its internal records for reports of abuse.
MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — In a reflection of the rising concern over alleged pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church, the Manchester Diocese’s bishop has announced the names of 14 priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children in the past, and it turned those names over to prosecutors.
“People wonder not only what has the church in New Hampshire done about this in the past, but also what is it doing to make the church safe for children in the future,” said Bishop John B. McCormack, whose diocese covers New Hampshire. “There have been instances in New Hampshire where priests have had inappropriate contact with children.”
Friday’s announcement came in the midst of a widening scandal over such priests in the Boston archdiocese. In January, Cardinal Bernard Law apologized for allowing a known pedophile to remain an active priest until the early 1990s.
In New Hampshire, one of the 14 priests named Friday was an active full-time priest. Six others were retired or sick but helped part time in parishes.
But critics say Libasci has disappointed clergy abuse victims
By John Toole firstname.lastname@example.org The Eagle-Tribune
SALEM — For the first time in the Greater Salem area, the leader of New Hampshire’s Roman Catholics will offer a healing Mass tonight for victims of child abuse.
Bishop Peter Libasci is scheduled to celebrate the Mass at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Church on Main Street.
The service comes 10 months after Libasci became bishop of the Diocese of Manchester and 10 years into the still-unfolding Catholic clergy abuse scandal in New Hampshire.
A critic of the church’s response to the scandal, David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Libasci has disappointed those who hoped for change. “He has been disappointing on so many levels,” Clohessy said. “Libasci is in an enviable position. He can say, ‘I don’t know these men. I wasn’t here.’ That makes it much easier for him to be forthcoming and proactive.”
SNAP continues to press the diocese to publicize the names, faces and locations of abusing priests, demonstrating as recently as three weeks ago outside diocesan offices in Manchester.
Clohessy is critical of Libasci for failing to do so. “There is virtually no difference” under Libasci than with his predecessor, Bishop John McCormack, Clohessy said.
McCormack was reviled for his role as an aide to Cardinal Bernard Law as the abuse coverup scandal first hit the Archdiocese of Boston. Later, upon becoming bishop of Manchester, he was criticized by victim advocates for not being forthcoming in releasing information about offending New Hampshire priests.
Clohessy said other dioceses have publicized information about abusive priests. “About 30 bishops in America have done this. It is a simple, inexpensive, public safety move. Of those 30 bishops, I don’t know a single one who later said, ‘Boy, I shouldn’t have done that,’’’ Clohessy said.
Healing Masses are not new. Dioceses across the country are holding them, Clohessy said. “Fundamentally, we think these kind of events are at best misplaced energy and at worst just public relations,” Clohessy said. “We think the focus needs to be on protecting kids and less on healing adults.”
Diocese spokesman Kevin Donovan said this is the fourth healing Mass in New Hampshire. McCormack held the first in response to requests from victims. Libasci has continued the practice.
“It was something that really came out of conversations Bishop McCormack had with victims,” Donovan said.
The masses are intended for child abuse victims generally and not just for victims of abuse by clergy or sex abuse victims, Donovan said.
The church doesn’t make a big deal about the Masses. Donovan said they tend to be small services. “They really are for healing,” he said.
Victims get the chance to personally speak with the bishop if they wish. “They are very powerful experiences,” Donovan said.
While Libasci has not discussed publicizing information about offending priests for the benefit of the public, Donovan said the diocese “follows the law and goes beyond the law.”
Don Simmons, a member of the Salem parish, sees the Mass as an honest effort by the new bishop to try to heal the wounds that haven’t healed in the past. “I hope that it’s perceived as an attempt to reach out to people affected by abuse,” Simmons said.
Other than monetary considerations awarded by the courts, “I don’t know what else the church can do to try to heal them emotionally and spiritually,” Simmons said.
“Our hopes are great that he can at least reach people with his personal dynamism,” parishioner Anna Willis said.
Willis said there remains a lot of anger because of the scandal so where SNAP and other critics are coming from may make sense. But Libasci is new, representing the church and still learning his people and the best way to deal with this issue, she said. “There is a curiosity about how he is going to deal with this because he is new.”
She has high hopes for the new bishop and his ability to deal with it. “I think this particular bishop has a reputation of being a shepherd and caring about his flock a great deal,” Willis said.
Libasci doesn’t carry the baggage of McCormack from the association with Law, she said.
The diocese has a report on its website, “Child Protection Measures,” detailing steps taken in the aftermath of the scandal. It says more than 23,000 adults working in churches and parochial schools have completed background screening, 28,500 have been trained to recognize abuse and 22,000 youths annually receive personal safety lessons.
Libasci, in his message accompanying that report, pledges “never again will the church in New Hampshire falter in its vigilance to protect children.”
The bishop acknowledges abuse as a present injury to the Catholic community. “Too many young people were robbed of their childhoods. Too many predators were not stopped,” Libasci said.
The real achievement is the anti-abuse policies have become permanently woven into the fabric of the church, he said.
“We must learn to live with the criticism of skeptics who only see a flawed institution beyond any hope of repair. In fact, we may indeed learn from what they have to say,” Libasci wrote