Lawsuit Accuses Framingham Priest of '60s Sex Assaults

By Andrea Estes
Boston Herald
April 7, 1997

A Maine carpenter who grew up in Framingham is accusing a Catholic priest of repeatedly molesting him while he was a teenager.

The Rev. Robert Barrett, who was assigned to St. George's Church in Framingham, allegedly lured Drew Fales into having sex with him during the 1960s.

Fales, 45, of Waldo County, last week filed suit against Barrett and the Archdiocese of Boston, which he claims should have known the priest was "of bad character and reputation and unable to properly interact with minors," according to the legal papers.

"It was just after Easter in 1994 that he peeled away the layers of this and discovered the source of the problem," said his lawyer, Kirk Griffin. "He had been undertaking therapy for relationship problems, and some alcohol treatment.

"It was with a great deal of contemplation that he authorized a suit to begin. He believes these types of situations need to be disclosed and addressed. It's not about money," Griffin said.

Barrett, the suit says, was the coach of the Framingham church's swim team of which Fales was a member, and visited Fales' home and took him on local outings and trips to Maine.

For a period of almost two years, between 1967 and 1968, Barrett "engaged in a pattern and practice of explicit sexual conduct with the plaintiff" sometimes plying him with alcohol, says the suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court.

The priest allegedly fondled and rubbed Fales' body and performed a sexual act on the then-15-year-old.

Barrett told Fales not to divulge their "little secret," the suit claims.

Fales repressed memories of the abuse, the suit says, until 1994 when he read allegations against other priests.

Barrett, ordained in 1963, couldn't be reached for comment.

John Walsh, spokesman for the Boston Archdiocese, said: "It would be inappropriate for us to comment on a case in litigation. I haven't been informed about this lawsuit."

Barrett is the third area Catholic priest accused of molesting children decades ago.

The Rev. John J. Geoghan is accused of molesting children at five Greater Boston parishes over 32 years, allegedly beginning shortly after his ordination in 1962.

Former priest James R. Porter was convicted in 1993 of sexually abusing 28 Massachusetts children.


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