Bishop Accountability
 
  Manchester NH Resources
December 1
–8, 2002

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Parishioners withhold money from church

By Associated Press
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
December 2, 2002

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/main.asp?ArticleID=68973&SectionID=25&SubSectionID=354&S=1

Durham -- Some area churchgoers are using their wallets to express their anger with how the Roman Catholic Church has handled sex abuse allegations.

Parishioners of St. Thomas More Church said they are withholding contributions to the church until a way can be found to keep the money in their own parish.

Roughly 8 percent of all money donated to the church is assessed as a fee to the Diocese of Manchester for operating expenses. Maggie Fogarty, a member of the church, said it is an act of conscientious objection.

She said that so far a way has not been found to keep the money local, but she and others plan to keep looking.

“We will continue the action until the church is in a different place,” she said.

In New Hampshire and around the nation, the church has been rocked by the church abuse scandal. Bishops and other officials have been accused of covering up allegations of abuse against priests.

Fogarty said many members of the church feel there is no accountability on the part of the diocese to explain how their financial contributions are distributed.

The dilemma church members like Fogarty face is that while they want to oppose the way the church is run, they love their individual parishes.

At a public session last week in Portsmouth with the task force evaluating the church’s sexual abuse policy, a woman said she was so disgusted by Bishop John B. McCormack that she wrote on her checks that they were not to be used for the diocese.

“But that’s not enough,” Fogarty said “Even if a check said that, it is still counted as income for the parish, so 7.8 percent of all her stuff is still going to Manchester.”

Fogarty said the key to keeping money out of the diocese’s hands may be simple communication and cooperation.

“Several months ago our food pantry needed a refrigerator,” Fogarty said. “Many of us wrote checks for $50 or $75 toward a refrigerator. We made the checks out to Best Buy and now we have a refrigerator.

“We were told that type of contribution would not be assessed as income. If we cannot find a way to make monetary donations without the diocese assessing a fee, perhaps we will pursue buying what our parish needs.”

Fogarty said parishioners have written a letter to the Rev. Edward Arsenault, chancellor of the diocese, asking for his assurance that if parishioners gave money, it would not go to the diocese.

She said so far there has been no response. A call to Arsenault was not returned. A call to the Rev. Robert Byron, pastor of St. Thomas More Church, also was not returned.

“We will try to publicly launch a campaign to buy things for the parish instead of giving money,” Fogarty said. “My $50 and others could buy office supplies. We will need communication from the parish to do that, to see what they need.”



Records show a trail of secrecy, deception

By Walter V. Robinson and Stephen Kurkjian
Boston (MA) Globe
December 4, 2002

http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories3/120402_burns.htm

When it came to the Rev. Robert M. Burns and his sexual attraction to boys, the first consideration of the Archdiocese of Boston was secrecy.

In the early 1990s, keeping Burns's crimes secret preoccupied top aides to Cardinal Bernard F. Law. They plotted how to mislead inquisitive reporters who might ask about Burns. And when a lawsuit against Burns was filed, the Rev. John B. McCormack, now a bishop, noted emphatically, ''Papers are impounded - temporarily!''

Rev. Robert M. Burns

The bishops also worried about how to squelch rumors. When Bishop Alfred C. Hughes expressed concern about an anonymous letter citing knowledge about Burns's abuse, McCormack wrote back: ''Shall we trace it?''

The cardinal's aides even drafted a misleading press release, which minimized Burns's ties to the archdiocese. And when Law ultimately moved to seek Burns removal from the priesthood, his request to the Vatican focused as much on the harm Burns had done to the church's reputation as it did on the harm Burns had done to children.

[See selections from the RCAB file on Burns.]

''The immoral and illegal activities of Father Burns during his stay in the Archdiocese of Boston are the cause, potential and actual, of grave scandal,'' Law wrote to the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

That penchant for secrecy and fear of scandal was shared by Law's predecessor Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros and his bishops. It eased the way for Burns to molest children undetected for nine years in parishes in Jamaica Plain and Charlestown.

Medeiros and at least two of his top bishops - Hughes and Thomas V. Daily - knew that Burns had a history of sexual abuse. Even so, they dispatched him to a parish where he would have contact with children - and decided that the pastor should be told nothing of his problems.

For years, the Archdiocese of Boston covered up the sexual misconduct of its priests by coaxing lawyers for victims into making secret settlements. And the documents in Burns's files suggest that the lawyers knew their claims were worth more if they were settled in secret.

For example, one lawyer, Timothy P. O'Connell, opened a letter demanding a $1 million settlement for a Burns victim by noting that similar abuse cases, if they were decided in a jury trial, ''generally receive wide publicity.''

The three largest claims paid to Burns's victims, totaling more than $2 million, were paid secretly before news about him became public in 1996. One attorney who settled such cases said yesterday that he and other lawyers were able to secure larger settlements if the priest's name had not been made public.

Burns, who was from the Youngstown, Ohio, Diocese, had asked to serve in Boston in 1982 as he concluded a year of treatment for child molestation at a church facility, the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville.

Medeiros knew about Burns's past. Two of his bishops knew. And the records show that they all had ''reservations'' about giving him any assignment.

Rev. Gilbert S. Phinn, the clergy personnel director, suggested Burns be restricted to work as a convent chaplain. But Hughes, who is now the archbishop of New Orleans, favored sending Burns to a parish. The decision was contingent on the counselor's recommendation.

''The [counselor's] assessment clearly indicated that Fr. Burns should not be assigned to ministry in which he would come in contact with minors, especially grade school children,'' the Rev. William F. Murphy wrote in 1998 after reviewing the file.

Even so, Medeiros assigned Burns to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Jamaica Plain, and four years later to St. Mary's Church in Charlestown.

In 1991, Burns was removed from St. Mary's after the first Jamaica Plain complaints surfaced. In 1996, he pleaded guilty to indecent assault of a child for a 1995 incident in New Hampshire and was imprisoned for three years.

When the first lawsuit was filed in 1991, naming the archdiocese, chancery officials became intent on keeping the lawsuit secret. McCormack wrote in an early 1992 handwritten notation. ''Urged press not to do anything.''

But just in case reporters came calling, McCormack suggested to Hughes that the cardinal should be prepared to respond. Among his suggestions: That they not admit Burns had been a Boston priest ''if reporter confused'' and identify Burns as ''a priest who is not of the Arch of Boston.''

Archdiocesan fears that handling of Burns could cause a public furor prompted aides to Law to propose public statements that omitted any mention of the fact that Burns had served in the Boston Archdiocese for nine years.

On Feb. 5, 1992, two draft statements were prepared, one that said, ''The tragic allegations involve a priest from outside the archdiocese of Boston.''

It was left to the Rev. Brian M. Flatley in 1996 to explain the secrecy about Burns to one of his victims. Flatley wrote that he told the victim that the church knew Burns was a molester.

''The young man expressed disbelief at this. He asked if we told anyone at St. Thomas Aquinas about Father Burns' past. I said no, that Father Thomas knew nothing,'' Flatley wrote. ''He asked me how we could have done that. I told him that there is no good explanation.''



Bishop McCormack had uneven record as Law’s top aide

From Staff and Wire Reports
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
December 4, 2002

While he was a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law, Bishop John B. McCormack was quick to suspend some priests accused of sexual abuse but appeared to wait years in other cases, according to church records released yesterday.

In one case, McCormack took just months to investigate and suspend from ministry a Massachusetts priest accused of molesting several girls, the records indicate.

But in other cases, McCormack apparently ignored allegations dating back more than a decade, including a case where one priest was initially accused of misconduct in 1984 but not removed from ministry until 1993.

McCormack, who became bishop of New Hampshire in 1998, was director of ministerial personnel in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston from 1984 to 1994. For several years, he handled sexual abuse complaints involving priests.

Yesterday, personnel files on eight priests were made public after a judge ordered the church in Boston to turn them over to lawyers representing alleged victims of abuse by priests.

Archdiocese spokesman Donna Morrissey said the documents contain horrible allegations and the church wants to help any victims. None of the priests could be reached and the archdiocese did not have telephone numbers for them.

McCormack, who was involved in all eight cases, has been accused of disregarding complaints against priests while coddling them and shuffling them from parish to parish.

McCormack has said he often did not know about allegations against priests because of poor record-keeping, a point underscored again yesterday by McCormack's spokesman, Patrick McGee.

"Many times, especially in this diocese, the first time we knew of an allegation against a priest was when we were contacted by a lawyer," McGee said.

He also said the crux of the controversy is that if the bishop were to say his motivation was always to do the right thing, and to protect children from harm, he'd also have to balance that with protecting the rights of the accused.

"Everyone admits now that, out of concern for a scandal, handling matters in a confidential way that protects both victims and priests is the better way," McGee said.

"The broad statement on behalf of the bishop would be that abuse of illegal drugs is wrong, abuse of power by a priest to seduce women is wrong, a priest not living a chaste and celibate life is wrong," McGee said.

"But rather than responding to some daily disclosure of some new piece of information, the bishop will want to refresh his memory by looking over the documents, and then make some kind of comprehensive comment," he said.

Roderick MacLeish Jr., the lawyer who released the records in Boston, said the files indicate a pattern of ignoring complaints and failing to go back and warn parishioners about predatory priests.

"Bishop McCormack had a wealth of information available to him," MacLeish said. "There was an obligation given the nature of the relationship between the church and its parishioners to go back."

In the case of the Rev. Robert Meffan of Weymouth, Mass., McCormack appears to have acted quickly on allegations the priest sexually assaulted young girls training to become nuns, according to church records.

The first allegation against Meffan was made in January 1993. By March, McCormack had ordered a psychological assessment of him and suspended him from active ministry by July.

Yet in the case of the Rev. Robert Morrissette, who according to the records admitted in 1984 that he "made advances" on a boy, initially only counseling was offered.

Not until August 1993 did McCormack advise that Morrissette be suspended from active ministry. Law placed the priest on sick leave the following month.

And in 1992, McCormack was told in a memo from his assistant at the time, Sister Catherine Mulkerrin, that the Rev. Thomas Forry, who served in Scituate and Kingston, Mass., had been accused of making sexual advances against the son of a woman with whom the priest had an 11-year affair.

Seven years later, Forry still was in ministry. In 1999, Law reassigned Forry from being a prison chaplain to being a roaming, fill-in priest to cover vacations by priests. He currently is unassigned.

But in the case of former priest Robert Towner, who left the church in 1990 to marry and have children, McCormack took a hard line.

Allegations dating back to 1967 were made against Towner in 1992 and 1993, but McCormack told him the archdiocese would not give him any financial help for his legal bills, saying such money was reserved for priests.

At the same time, one victim's mother complained that McCormack and Mulkerrin had done nothing about her complaint against Towner, according to the records.

In a handwritten note, McCormack said the allegation was wrong and that he had offered the woman counseling for her son, but she "did not pick up on it."

(Union Leader Staff Reporter Carol Robidoux contributed to this report.)



Priest sired 2 children, records show

By Robert O’Neill
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
December 6, 2002

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/main.asp?ArticleID=69226&SectionID=25&SubSectionID=354&S=1

Boston -- A priest failed to call doctors immediately when the apparent mother of his two children collapsed from an overdose, according to personnel files released Thursday as part of lawsuits stemming from the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal.

When details were fully disclosed to church officials nearly three decades later, the Rev. James Foley was ordered into therapy, but was eventually allowed back to ministry under restrictions. It is unclear whether church officials ever notified authorities about the incident.

The documents, obtained by lawyers pursuing sexual abuse claims against the archdiocese, detail how church officials responded in the 1990s to Foley’s revelation, the details of which are vague.

Handwritten notes in Foley’s file indicate that when the woman collapsed from an apparent drug overdose, Foley got dressed, left and returned an undetermined time later before calling for help.

The woman later died, but it is not clear if it was a result of the overdose. Police in Needham, where the documents indicate the woman lived, said they have no record of it. The state Attorney General’s office was also examining the documents.

Foley did not return a phone message left at the church where he is associate minister in Salem.

Foley wrote to archdiocese personnel director, the Rev. John McCormack, in 1994 that he received a call “from someone indicating that if I ever made any effort to contact the children of the deceased, then an investigation into the circumstances of the woman’s death would be opened. It happened over 25 years ago and it is in the interest of no one to open that tragic story.”

Foley’s history, which includes at least one other relationship with an adult woman, appears to have deeply troubled Cardinal Bernard Law, who has been criticized for shuffling priests accused of child abuse into new assignments. There are no allegations Foley abused children.

When the details surfaced as part of a routine review, Law and McCormack, now bishop of Manchester, N.H., ordered Foley to resign his post at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sudbury and to undergo treatment at a residential facility in Canada.

On one occasion, McCormack wrote to a doctor: “Cardinal Law thinks that (Foley) should not be in pastoral ministry due to potential scandal. His remark is that this man should spend his life in a monastery doing penance.”

After his release from the treatment facility, the archdiocese in December 1994 agreed to let him live at a rectory and to celebrate Mass while continuing his therapy, but prohibited him from performing other ministerial duties. Foley was placed in a parish in Waltham in January 1995.

Foley hoped to be allowed to do more, and church officials appear to have had mixed feelings about whether Foley should return to a fuller ministry. In 1994, the Rev. Brian Flatley wrote to McCormack, his supervisor in the office of ministerial personnel, that Foley “really has been out of control” and reported McCormack’s observation that “he was interacting sexually with the woman at the table and may not have been aware of it.”

However, Flatley wrote, Foley “seems to have turned his life around – prayerful, great pastor,” and “I would love to see Jim back in ministry.”

Law eventually accepted a review board’s recommendation that Foley be allowed to return to ministry under certain restrictions, including supervision by a monitor, continued therapy and “that he not enter any situation with women where there is the potential to be compromised.”

The last records show that the restrictions were upheld in 1998.

Plaintiffs lawyers said the archdiocese should have told authorities what it knew about the woman’s death. It cannot be determined from the files whether it did so. Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey did not return a phone message seeking comment.

“This is not just an issue of someone having consensual sex with women,” plaintiffs attorney Eric MacLeish said. “This is a question about what happened that day.”

There is no evidence in the file of any improper sexual behavior by Foley after he returned to partial ministerial duty.



Cleric had 2 children, kept status

By Michael Rezendes and Stephen Kurkjian
Boston (MA) Globe
December 6, 2002

http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories3/120602_cleric.htm

On Dec. 23, 1993, Cardinal Bernard F. Law heard an extraordinary admission: the Rev. James D. Foley, while a priest at St. Bartholomew Church in Needham during the 1960s, had fathered two children with a woman who later died of a drug overdose after going to bed with him.

The revelation came as the cardinal questioned Foley about reports that, while on loan to the Calgary diocese, he had had sexual relationships with two young married women.

Law and a top deputy, Bishop John B. McCormack, were trying to decide whether Foley was fit to remain in public ministry. And, in the end, despite the reports of multiple affairs and Foley's admission that he had not promptly called for emergency medical help for the dying mother of his children, they decided he was.

Foley, indeed, remained in active ministry until yesterday afternoon, when, as church documents were released detailing his affairs, he was abruptly suspended as associate pastor at St. Joseph's Church in Salem, where he has worked the last five years.

''I am completely shocked,'' said the Rev. Lawrence J. Rondeau, the church pastor. ''He has been a perfect associate and I enjoyed working with him.'' Rondeau said the chancery never informed him of Foley's past problems, even though church records show Foley was suspended and then reassigned on the condition that he ''not enter a situation with women where there is the potential to be compromised.''

Earlier, in a Globe interview in the living room of his Danvers home, Foley admitted to the relationship with the woman who died. ''It's all true,'' he said.

The chancery's discovery of Foley's double life and Law's decision to allow him to continue working as an active priest are described in more than 100 pages of church records released yesterday in a lawsuit filed by alleged victims of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley.

The records, like thousands of pages of other church files released throughout the year, document compassionate treatment of a priest who admitted to sexual misconduct, and show that the practice of sheltering sexually abusive clergy by transferring them to other parishes or dioceses dates to the era of Cardinal Richard Cushing.

At a news conference yesterday, attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. said the records in Foley's case and others also demonstrate a double standard in the church's treatment of priests who sexually abused boys and those who took advantage of women. ''There was obviously a differentiation made between women and children,'' said MacLeish, of the Greenberg Traurig law firm, which represents nearly half of the 450 people with claims against the archdiocese.

In a deposition taken this year in the Shanley case, Law said he believes that sexual abuse of a minor is a ''far, far worse evil'' than the molestation of an adult. ''I find the evil of sexual abuse of a minor really qualitatively quite different and much more intense than that'' of an adult, he said.

Since February, the archdiocese has suspended 24 priests facing outstanding accusations of sexual misconduct with minors; one of the priests has been exonerated and reinstated. But it was unclear yesterday why Law allowed Foley to continue serving as an associate pastor.

Donna M. Morrissey, the spokeswoman for the archdiocese, did not return calls seeking comment about Law's decision to allow Foley to remain in active ministry.

At his news conference, MacLeish cited a note written by McCormack saying the mother of Foley's children ''had a lobotomy'' as an indication that Foley might have been taking advantage of a mentally troubled woman.

MacLeish also criticized Law and McCormack, a seminary classmate of Foley's, for not informing law enforcement officials about the woman's death, even though notes of Law's meeting with Foley raise the possibility of what he called ''criminal activity.''

''There is no indication that when Cardinal Law and Bishop McCormack got this information that they did anything,'' MacLeish said. ''The police didn't get the full story.''

A spokeswoman for state Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said yesterday that Reilly received a copy of the Foley file yesterday and is reviewing it, while a spokeswoman for Needham police declined to answer questions about the woman's death.

In his Globe interview yesterday, Foley at first denied any sexual involvement with women. But he then admitted to his affair with the woman who died of a drug overdose when he was shown a copy of a 1994 letter he wrote to McCormack in which he tried to assure McCormack the incident would never become public.

''Everything in the letter is true,'' Foley said.

In the letter, Foley strongly objected to an archdiosesan decision to remove him as pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sudbury, arguing that his affair with the deceased woman would not lead to scandal.

''While the circumstances of my first involvement are ugly and tragic, I cannot in my wildest imaginings understand how that can ever be made public,'' Foley wrote. ''How can the church suffer scandal from an episode that will never possibly be revealed?''

Notes from Foley's meeting with Law provide a chilling shorthand description of what happened: ''Had two children in '65 and relationships married women ... overdosed while he was present ... started to faint ... he clothed ... left came back ... called 911 ... she died ... a sister knows. ... Needham.''

Foley, in his interview, said he did not know his personnel records had been publicly released until he was told by a Globe reporter. He also insisted he should be allowed to remain in active ministry. ''Yes, I made mistakes when I was younger but I have led a proper, priestly life since then,'' he said. ''I should be judged by my whole career, not just what is spelled out in that letter.''

The Foley records released yesterday make it clear that top church officials as far back as the early 1960s were willing to give work to priests accused of sexual misconduct in other jurisdictions to avoid public scandal.

In a May 1966 letter to the Boston chancery reporting that Foley had disappeared from his Calgary parish in the company of a woman, Bishop Francis P. Carroll even said he would be willing to keep Foley in active ministry if he returned. ''I would be quite willing to take Father again if we can discover where he is,'' Carroll said. ''His problem is not known here.''

But in 1968, after a married woman's husband publicly accused Foley of having an affair with his wife, the administrator of the Calgary diocese wrote Cushing to say that the Boston Archdiocese would have to take Foley back. ''Father has been seriously involved with a young married woman (19 years of age) and had been contemplating leaving Calgary with her,'' the administrator said. ''There have been other complications with regard to this relationship, and there are indications that he has been involved with others. There has been considerable scandal.''

On his return to Boston, Foley was assigned to St. James Church in Haverhill, where church records show he became involved with another woman, and was later promoted to pastorships at St. Peter Church in Dorchester and Our Lady of Fatima in Sudbury.

The rediscovery of his sexual affairs was made in 1993 by Bishop Alfred C. Hughes, an aide to Law who is now the archbishop of the New Orleans arcdiocese, months after Law implemented a policy on clergy sexual abuse of minors. But the immediate impulse of McCormack, now bishop of the Manchester, N.H., diocese, was to forgive Foley's transgressions.



Priest in Massachusetts let mom of his children overdose on drugs

By Kathryn Marchocki
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
December 6, 2002

Boston -- Previously sealed church documents yesterday revealed details of a Boston archdiocesan priest who walked out on the woman with whom he had two children when she overdosed in the 1960s.

The Rev. James D. Foley returned an undetermined time later and telephoned for help, but the woman died, church documents turned over to attorneys for alleged victims of clergy abuse showed.

The case came to Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack's attention in July 1993 when Foley was up for reassignment as pastor of a Sudbury, Mass., parish, church records show.

McCormack was Cardinal Bernard F. Law's secretary for ministerial personnel from 1984 to 1994 and also served as his point man for handling clergy sexual misconduct cases from 1992 to early 1995.

McCormack's apparent handwritten notes said Foley had two children with the married woman. She "overdosed while he was present" and started to faint. Foley dressed and left, but returned and called for help, McCormack wrote.

"She died -- a sister knows," McCormack wrote.

The woman's death apparently occurred about 1967 in Needham, Mass., said attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. in his Boston law office yesterday.

MacLeish said the woman apparently was from Needham and was one of at least three women with whom Foley had relationships. The other two were from Calgary, Alberta, and Haverhill, Mass., church records show.

There is nothing in the more than 150 pages of Foley's personnel file to indicate McCormack, Law or any other top archdiocesan official ever contacted law enforcement authorities about the woman's death.

Nor is there anything to indicate they further investigated the cause of her death, although a notation in McCormack's handwriting said: "Criminal activity? -- overdosed."

In a Jan. 23, 1994, follow-up meeting with Foley, McCormack wrote: "Sister of woman knew of his 'ties' to children -- so, think she knew he was involved. Woman 'seduced' him. She had a lobotomy. Has never seen children since time of her death. Sister threatened him that if he bothered the family she would reopen the case about cause of her death and who called 911."

McCormack's notes on both occasions list "scandal" as the archdiocese's first concern. Foley's "spiritual welfare" and "emotional and psychological well-being" were their other concerns.

But Foley shot back in a March, 20, 1994, letter to McCormack that there was no need to worry about scandal.

"How can the church suffer scandal from an episode that will never possibly be revealed? Who will reveal it? The Cardinal? Myself? A family member? Whoever knew the truth (and I am not sure anyone ever did) would not wait twenty seven years if there were any malicious intent to harm me or the church," Foley wrote.

The review board, based on McCormack's recommendations and Law's concurrence, had Foley resign as pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Sudbury in April 1994 and sent him to a residential treatment program in Canada.

One year after receiving Foley's case, McCormack considered the possibility of returning the priest to ministry.

In a July 15, 1994, letter to Dr. Edwin Cassem, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who evaluated Foley, McCormack noted Law wanted to bar Foley from ministry and thought Foley "should spend his life in a monastery doing penance."

"My own sense is that if he increases his understanding of himself and is more able to manage his needs for intimacy and dependency in a healthy way that he could serve in ministry," McCormack wrote Cassem.

McCormack asked Cassem his opinion on Foley's potential for serving in ministry.

"If anything did break out about him, particularly that he fathered two children, do you think people would feel that we had put them at risk and that it would be a source of scandal?" McCormack wrote.

Cassem responded there was "no basis to put him back in ministry!" saying Foley was "unstable, unpredictable" and "may fold under stress," McCormack wrote.

Manchester diocesan spokesman Patrick McGee said McCormack recalled receiving a complaint about Foley around 1993 or 1994 when he was a priest charged with investigating clergy complaints in the cardinal's cabinet.

"My office conducted an investigation of Father Foley. I and the review board subsequently recommended to the cardinal that Father Foley receive treatment and be placed on leave. I believe the cardinal accepted my recommendation," McCormack said yesterday through his spokesman.

Shortly after, around November 1994, McCormack said he concluded his work in the cardinal's cabinet.
Records show the case was turned over to the Rev. Brian Flatley, who was McCormack's successor as the cardinal's delegate for sexual misconduct.

"Jim sinned big time . . . was wild and out of control," Flatley wrote McCormack in September 1994.
Still, Flately wrote, "I would love to see Jim able to be back in ministry with a real monitor."

Records indicate that Foley was returned to parish ministry sometime around 1996, MacLeish said. He currently is serving as associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Salem, Mass.

A parish secretary said Foley no longer is serving at the parish and had "been terminated as of (yesterday)."

Records also show that in 1996, Foley suffered a psychotic episode and was admitted to Salem Hospital.

"He was running red lights thinking that they were red only for other people, going up one-way streets and using language in homilies that indicated that he saw himself as the savior of Salem," Flatley wrote in July 1996.

Foley was diagnosed as having a bi-polar disorder and was treated with lithium, he wrote.
MacLeish said when his office discovered Foley's files yesterday morning, they immediately contacted the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office about his case out of a public safety concern.



NH diocese might face indictment

By Kathryn Marchocki
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
December 6, 2002

The state Attorney General's Office has scheduled a special session of the grand jury investigating the Catholic Diocese of Manchester's handling of clergy sexual misconduct since the 1960s, a source said yesterday.

The grand jury is scheduled to meet Dec. 13 in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester to consider bringing an indictment against the diocese, the source said.

Attorney General Philip T. McLaughlin's office has been conducting an intensive criminal probe into whether the diocese's conduct in its dealing with abusive priests was criminal.

The inquiry into how the diocese handled about 50 clerics accused of sexual abuse in New Hampshire was launched last spring.

As part of its probe, the Attorney General's Office has granted immunity to "some priests" accused of sexual abuse, a source said.

The grand jury has been actively meeting for several months to examine the diocese's actions and those of its administrators over the last 40 years, a diocesan attorney said in a court document.

The lead prosecutor said the diocese as an institution is the prime target of the probe, though individual church leaders also could be targeted.

Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack, who has been leader of the diocese since 1998, is not a target, prosecutors have said.

Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker, who is spearheading the investigation, would not comment on the grand jury investigation, saying grand jury proceedings are secret.

"We're at the point where we said all along that we are trying to conclude our investigation and conclude this investigation by the middle of December," Delker said.

"I really can't speculate on potential outcomes," he added.

Delker also would not comment on the possibility of a negotiated settlement with the diocese, which would derail the possibility of seeking an indictment.

But the Rev. Edward J. Arsenault, diocesan chancellor and its delegate for sexual misconduct, said "we're cooperating in their investigation."

It's possible the grand jury session scheduled for Dec. 13 could be extended, the source said.

While attorneys general in several other states -- including Massachusetts -- are conducting criminal investigations into whether the Catholic church hierarchy failed to protect children from abusive priests, none has brought charges to date.

McLaughlin in June said he was "absolutely convinced" crimes were committed by church leaders who knowingly reassigned abusive priests. He later said he was commenting on national events and national reports of abuse, particularly those coming out of Boston.

McLaughlin in October said he hoped to conclude his investigation into how the Manchester diocese handled child abuse by clergy before he leaves office on Dec. 18.

Investigators have said that they are considering the possibility of charging the diocese under the state's endangering-the-welfare-of-a-child statute, a criminal conduct charge that typically is brought against parents or guardians of children. The misdemeanor charge has a one-year statute of limitations.

But Delker has said it doesn't appear statute-of-limitations issues will pose an insurmountable barrier.
Several former state prosecutors have said there are a number of exceptions to the statute of limitations that might allow the state to bring such a charge even in cases that are decades old.

One exception allows the state to prosecute an offense up to a year after the crime was discovered so long as a material element of the offense either is fraud or breach of fiduciary duty, they said.

Fiduciary duty can involve any duty of care, such as that imposed on clergy and other professions by the state's mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting law, they said.

It's also possible the state could tap into the extended statute of limitations allowed for sexual abuse crimes by charging the diocese as an accomplice to sexual abuse, former prosecutors said. An accomplice is one who aided and abetted a criminal act, even if done in a passive way.



Victims’ attorney credits McCormack for role in settling suits

By Kathryn Marchocki
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
December 7, 2002

Disparaged by many Catholics for his work while one of Cardinal Bernard F. Law's top deputies in the Boston archdiocese and facing numerous calls for his resignation, Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack yesterday got support from an unexpected quarter: the attorney who brought 73 clergy sexual abuse civil claims against the Manchester diocese.

"The guy deserves a little credit for what he has done" in New Hampshire, Manchester lawyer Peter E. Hutchins said.

Hutchins last week reached a $5 million settlement with the Manchester diocese on behalf of 62 men and women who said they were sexually abused as children by clerics.

From the outset, he said McCormack set a cooperative tone which was "unprecedented in my 20 years of legal practice."

"Clearly, the New Hampshire situation could have got a lot uglier for some people than it did. If the Diocese of Manchester had taken the tack that the Archdiocese of Boston did, it would have gotten uglier," he said.

Hutchins said the diocese's handling of his cases also stands in marked contrast to his dealings with Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, the Rhode Island-based religious order that operates it.

Hutchins has 10 clients who say they were sexually abused by Sacred Heart brothers, seven of whom allege they were abused at the Nashua school. So far, three lawsuits have been brought.

Diocesan officials and their attorneys did not attack his clients' credibility or motives or try to intimidate them, Hutchins said.

The diocese also agreed to not raise statute-of-limitations issues, he said.

Hutchins announced the settlement of 62 of his 67 cases last week.

Since then, five men and one woman have come forward claiming they also were abused by clerics from 1955 through 1978, he said. They allege abuse that ranged from fondling to oral sex to intercourse, he said.

Hutchins said settlement talks will continue and he expects to resolve the remaining cases within 60 days.
Hutchins said he decided to speak up after thousands of pages of once-sealed Boston archdiocesan court documents were made public this week.

The documents reveal decades-old practices by Boston archdiocesan officials to allow abusive priests to remain in ministry or quietly transfer them to other parishes.

McCormack, who was Law's secretary for ministerial personnel from 1984 to 1994, has come under intense criticism for his handling of many clergy sexual misconduct cases while he was Law's delegate for sexual misconduct from 1992 to early 1995.

"I guess you read a whole bunch of stuff and you realize there is some good (McCormack) has done, too, and that seems to have not been stated," Hutchins said.

While this will not "wipe out faults of the past," Hutchins said a leader's abilities are tested under crisis.
"You really have to look at what they do in the eye of adversity," he said, saying he is impressed with McCormack's willingness to meet publicly with parishioners and other groups, knowing he will be ridiculed or criticized.

"That takes some guts," he added.

The largest individual settlements awarded last week in Hutchins' cases didn't exceed $500,000, he said. They went to a woman with whom a cleric had intercourse more than 100 times, he said. Another went to a man who had been sodomized more than 100 times, he said.

The median settlement was about $41,000.

Settlements were awarded on a range depending on the severity and frequency of abuse victims suffered, he said. Sometimes the age of the child would be a factor.

Diocesan officials were willing to accept his clients' comments as true, Hutchins said.

He said he believes diocesan officials discussed the allegation with the accused cleric to determine if he admitted or denied it.

"My understanding was that the direct order was that, if there was a dispute between what the priest said and what the victim said, that they (diocesan officials) were to believe what the victim said," he added.

Hutchins said there was just one case in which diocesan officials questioned one of his clients, because it was the only case in which the priest abused a female. The case was resolved in her favor.



Embattled cardinal bows out of Mass at cathedral

By Tom Mashberg
Boston (MA) Herald
December 8, 2002

Bernard Cardinal Law last night backed out of today's Mass at Holy Cross Cathedral, barely 12 hours before hundreds of irate Catholics planned to gather there to demand his resignation.

Donna M. Morrissey, Law's spokeswoman, gave no reason for the decision, saying only that Law "will have no public schedule."

Morrissey would not say whether Law might attend a long- scheduled meeting of the Catholic University board of trustees tonight through Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Law was slated to leave for Washington after his weekly 11 a.m. Mass at the cathedral.

"I'm not surprised to hear that," the Rev. Robert E. Nee, chaplain of Children's Hospital, said last night of Law's decision not to attend this morning's Mass.

Law's withdrawal from the Mass came as scores of his priests, including Nee, waded into what one cleric called "deeply uncharted waters" by circulating a draft letter urging Law to resign.

By late last night, at least 50 of the priests had agreed to the text of the letter, and said they planned to deliver it to Law this afternoon.

In part, the letter reads: "The events of recent months and, in particular, of these last few days, make it clear to us that your position as our bishop is so compromised that it is no longer possible for you to exercise the spiritual leadership required for the church of Boston."

Interviews with dozens of parishioners, priests and influential Boston-area laity in recent days make it clear Catholics are shell- shocked by the pummeling the church and Law have taken after a week of bankruptcy talk by the Archdiocese Finance Council and scandalous revelations in the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

"I have never seen so much anger as I have this week," said Matt Kenslea, 43, a Newton salesman who attended Mass yesterday with two of his three sons at Our Lady Help of Christians Church.

"Law has become Nixonian," he said. "Whatever cause the cardinal thinks he is serving right now by staying put, I just don't know."

And the Rev. Robert W. Bullock, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in Sharon, said, "We are all horrified by what we've been learning."

Bullock, a leader of the Boston Priests Forum, a coalition of 250 priests, added, "The calls for the cardinal to resign among priests are becoming much more extensive and louder."

Paul Baier of Voice of the Faithful and Survivors First said busloads and car pools of rank-and-file Catholics were planned last night to be at the cathedral today.

"These are angry people. We have had a crime spree going on," Baier said.

For Law, the weeks ahead promise more painful scrutiny of his role in covering up the depradations of dozens of rogue priests.

Attorneys suing the church on behalf of sex-abuse plaintiffs are planning to depose Law again Dec. 17, and to interrogate Law and his embattled former clergy personnel chief, Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., together under oath Dec. 18.

"I am finding more files that contain shocking allegations," said attorney Jeffrey A. Newman, who is analyzing church documents.

State and national law enforcement officials are also circling to find ways to question Law, McCormack and other U.S. prelates - either via grand jury subpoena or before legislative committees.

At today's rally, several victims' rights groups will urge Congress and the State House to convene hearings on the church crisis so Law can be called to testify.

And Robert S. Bennett, chairman of a national lay Catholic review board recently empaneled to examine the crisis, said yesterday his group will question cardinals, archbishops and bishops on the matter in coming months.

"The board is very troubled by recent revelations," he said.

Kenslea and others last night said they stood behind their pastor, the Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, who has talked openly in recent days of the need for priests to speak out jointly and publicly about Law's future. Many of the 400 on hand praised Cuenin after the service for his role in the ongoing and subtle stewardship of nearly 100 priests who are likely signatories of the letter to Law.

Cuenin said the prospect of a large fraction of the Boston Archdiocese's 900 priests - who upon ordination vow obedience to church leaders and Vatican dictates - asking a bishop to step down is "deeply unsettling" to his brother clerics.

"I know the letter will express a great sadness for the cardinal, and speak of the many fine things he has done - easing of poverty and hunger, our relations with Jews," Cuenin said earlier in the day. "But I cannot see how it will not ask for his resignation."

Not all Catholics are leaving Law. Francis Hogan, a Boston attorney who has served on Catholic boards, said Law's backers "are not represented in the media coverage, are hard at work in parish life."

But Stephen Pope, chairman of Boston College's theology department, said, "Most people thought the worst had already been seen and it couldn't get worse. I think this (last week) is the bale of straw that is going to break his back."



Priests pen draft letter demanding Law resign

By Tom Mashberg
Boston (MA) Herald
December 8, 2002

Scores of Boston-area priests were in what a veteran cleric called "deeply uncharted waters" yesterday as they examined the draft of a polite but firm letter urging Bernard Cardinal Law to resign.

And this morning, hundreds of Catholics are planning to gather in front of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End for a mass protest against Law's stewardship of the Archdiocese of Boston. It comes after of a week of bankruptcy talk and scandalous revelations in the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

Several priests interviewed yesterday said the letter was very preliminary and asked that its contents for now be paraphrased only.

One priest who saw the first draft described it as follows:

"I will say that in its essence, as it stands, the letter expresses regret that the cardinal can no longer provide real spiritual leadership to the church in Boston, so compromised has his position become, and thus it is best for the people, for the church, for moving ahead in dealing with the agony of the abuse crisis, that he resign."

Law is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the cathedral this morning, although neither he nor his spokeswoman could be contacted yesterday to comment on that or on the events of recent days. The cardinal's plans may be in flux because he has a trip to Washington scheduled tonight for a trustees meeting at Catholic University.

But interviews with dozens of parishioners, priests and influential Boston Catholics in recent days make clear they are shell-shocked by the pummeling the church and Law have taken.

"I have never seen so much anger as I have this week," said Matt Kenslea, 43, a Newton salesman who attended Mass yesterday with two of his three sons at Our Lady Help of Christians Church.
"Law has become Nixonian," he said. "Whatever cause the cardinal thinks he is serving right now by staying put, I just don't know."

And the Rev. Robert W. Bullock, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in Sharon, said, "We are all horrified by what we've been learning."

Bullock, leader of the Boston Priests Forum, a coalition of 250 priests that is also discussing a public plea for Law to go, added, "The calls for the cardinal to resign among priests are becoming much more extensive and louder."

For Law, the weeks ahead promise more painful scrutiny of his role in covering up the depradations of dozens of rogue priests.

Attorneys suing the church on behalf of sex-abuse plaintiffs are planning to depose Law again Dec. 17, and to interrogate Law and his embattled former clergy personnel chief, Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., together under oath Dec. 18.

"I am finding more files that contain shocking allegations," said attorney Jeffrey A. Newman, who is analyzing church documents.

State and national law enforcement officials are also circling to find ways to question Law, McCormack and other U.S. prelates - either via grand jury subpoena or before legislative committees.

At today's rally, several victims' rights groups will urge Congress and the State House to convene hearings on the church crisis so Law can be called to testify.

And Robert S. Bennett, chairman of a national lay Catholic review board recently empaneled to examine the crisis, said yesterday his group will question cardinals, archbishops and bishops on the matter in coming months.

"The board is very troubled by recent revelations," he said.

Paul Baier of Voice of the Faithful and Survivors First said busloads and car pools of rank-and-file Catholics were planning last night to be at the cathedral today.

"Hats off to (Law) for having the guts to show up," he said. "Because these are angry people. We have had a crime spree going on."

Kenslea and others last night said they stood behind their pastor, the Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, who has talked openly in recent days of the need for priests to speak out jointly and publicly about Law's future. Many of the 400 on hand praised Cuenin after the service for his role in the ongoing and subtle stewardship of nearly 100 priests who are likely signatories of the letter to Law.

Cuenin said he expects the letter to undergo much revision as dozens of priests weigh in on it by phone, fax and e-mail. The prospect of a large fraction of the Boston Archdiocese's 900 priests - who upon ordination vow obedience to church leaders and Vatican dictates - asking a bishop to step down, Cuenin noted, is deeply unsettling to his brother clerics.

"I know the letter will express a great sadness for the cardinal, and speak of the many fine things he has done - easing of poverty and hunger, our relations with Jews," Cuenin said. "But I cannot see how it will not ask for his resignation."

Not all Catholics are leaving Law. Francis Hogan, a Boston attorney who has served on Catholic boards, said Law's backers "are not represented in the media coverage, are hard at work in parish life."

But Stephen Pope, chairman of Boston College's theology department, said, "Most people thought the worst had already been seen and it couldn't get worse. I think this (last week) is the bale of straw that is going to break his back."

Protest letter seeks resignation

The following letter will be delivered to Bernard Cardinal Law today by a group of Boston-area priests who say it has been signed by at least 50 priests:

Dear Cardinal Law:

It is with a heavy heart that we write to request your resignation as Archbishop of Boston. We have valued the good work you have done here in Boston including, but not limited to: your advocacy for the homeless, your outreach to the Jewish community, your opposition to capital punishment, and your leadership in welcoming immigrant peoples. However, the events of recent months and, in particular, of these last few days, make it clear to us that your position as our bishop is so compromised that it is no longer possible for you to exercise the spiritual leadership required for the church of Boston.

As leaders of many of the parishes that make up this Archdiocese we hear from the people their call for a change in leadership. The revelations that have come to light a few days ago challenge the credibility of your public statements. The people of this Archdiocese are angry, hurt and in need of authentic spiritual leadership. We believe that despite your good work in the past you are no longer able to provide that leadership.

While this is obviously a difficult request, we believe in our hearts that this is a necessary step that must be taken if healing is to come to the Archdiocese. The priests and people of Boston have lost confidence in you as their spiritual leader.



Dover priest removed over sex abuse allegation

By Associated Press
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
December 8, 2002

Dove -- A Roman Catholic priest has been removed from his duties over allegations that he sexually assaulted a girl more than two decades ago.

The Rev. Paul Gregoire, pastor at St. Charles Parish, is accused of abusing the girl in the 1970s, WMUR-TV reported last night.

Parishioners were told yesterday that Gregoire, 73, has been placed on administrative leave and that the Diocese of Manchester considers the allegations credible.

"Our support and prayers go to everyone involved," Bishop John B. McCormack said in a statement.

 
 

Original material copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
     
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