NH Resources – October 2003
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Dover Church Wants Diocese to Pay for Interim Priests
The Associated Press
Dover, NH - The parish council at St. Charles Borromeo church says the Catholic diocese should reimburse it for the expense of doing without their priest for nine months while he was suspended.
Rev. Paul Gregoire was reinstated in August after allegations that he molested a girl nearly 30 years ago were deemed groundless.
In a letter to Bishop John McCormack distributed to parishioners this weekend, the council accused McCormack of botching the investigation and keeping Gregoire off the pulpit longer than necessary. They want to be reimbursed $14,600 - its cost of hiring interim priests in Gregoire's absence.
Rev. Ed Arsenault, a diocese spokesman, said the bishop will respond to the council's letter privately. He would not say whether the diocese would reimburse the church.
The letter charged that McCormack was aware early in the investigation that the charges were baseless, when he received letters from the accuser's relatives disputing the story.
"This fiasco should have ended at that time, but you chose to extend it for seven more months," the letter reads in part.
"I don't think we are trying to make a point," Thelma Anne Gitschier, the council secretary, told the Concord Monitor.
"We have our pastor back, and that is what we wanted. I think we are just trying to get back on our feet. We are seeing if the diocese will help us."
The parish council is not asking the diocese to reimburse it for a 30-percent drop in offerings during the time Gregoire was suspended.
McCormack has taken credit for the decision to reinstate Gregoire, a scenario Gregoire and the parish council have challenged. They say the Vatican ordered the reinstatement after Gregoire appealed to Rome.
After his reinstatement, Gregoire circulated his private correspondence from the Vatican and said he had seen no evidence of McCormack's support.
Gregoire's letter from the Vatican says Vatican officials cleared him and granted his appeal because they didn't see enough evidence to support the allegation.
The Vatican letter does not acknowledge any support for Gregoire from McCormack. But a diocese spokesman has said McCormack has documents that demonstrate he supported Gregoire's reinstatement. He has declined to release those documents
By Patriot Ledger staff
Brockton, MA - Paternity tests have confirmed that a priest who served at a Catholic church in Stoughton fathered two children during a 12-year affair with a Needham woman.
The Enterprise of Brockton reported yesterday that the tests showed that the Rev. James Foley is the biological father of James J. Perry, 38, of Middleboro and his sister, Emily S. Perry, 32 of Stoughton.
A probate court judge ordered Foley, who served at St. James Church in early 1996, to undergo DNA testing in July. He had an affair with the Perrys' mother, Rita Perry, in the 1960s and 1970s, according to church documents.
The documents say the Rev. Foley watched as Rita Perry took a fatal drug overdose in 1973. He allegedly left without seeking help, but later returned and called 911. Foley initially denied the incident, but has since apologized for not doing more to save her.
In a 1994 letter to current New Hampshire Bishop John McCormack, the Rev. Foley wrote, "I will regret to my dying day the circumstances, but I cannot turn back the clock, nor bring back the dead. How can the church suffer from an episode that will never possibly be revealed?"
The church records also indicated the Rev. Foley had sexual relationships with women in Haverhill and Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
James and Emily Perry filed court motions last February seeking paternity testing, and a judge granted their requests in July.
The brother and sister have not sought financial support and only pursued the tests to confirm the identify of their father, according to court documents.
Foley was sent away for two years of counseling after church officials learned of the affair, and returned to serve a few months at St. James Church in Stoughton in 1996.
He was then transferred to St. Joseph's Church in Salem, where he was admitted to Salem Hospital after having a psychotic episode, according to a memo written by the Rev. Brian Flatley, then in charge of handling sexually abusive priests.
The priest "was experiencing delusions of grandeur and feelings of infallibility," the memo said. "He was running red lights thinking that they were only for other people, going up one-way streets" and calling himself the savior of Salem, the Rev. Flatley wrote.
The allegations against the Rev. Foley were revealed to the public last
December in church documents lawyers for the alleged victims of the Rev.
Paul Shanley released. Foley was then removed from his ministry at St.
Joseph's in Salem.
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