Cops Hope Ex-Priest's Nephew Will Testify to Abuse
By Tom Farmer and Tom Mashberg
March 15, 2002
North Shore investigators are hoping to convince the nephew of former priest Paul J. Mahan to cooperate in their criminal probe so authorities can bring rape charges against the defrocked Catholic priest suspected of molesting dozens of children dating back to the 1960s, the Boston Herald has learned.
Mahan, 57, was the target of a 1997 rape investigation by Marblehead and state police involving the nephew, but authorities decided not to prosecute the case because the boy did not want to cooperate.
The nephew's attorney, Joseph G. Abromovitz, said yesterday he would be willing to contact his client on behalf of police. Marblehead Detective Sgt. Marion Keating said she is hopeful the nephew will change his mind and cooperate in the investigation.
"We've already investigated Mahan in this matter and we feel that the crime of rape was committed here," Keating said yesterday. "We'd strongly encourage this victim or any victim of sexual abuse to come forward and talk to us so we can prosecute these predators."
Mahan is on a list of about 90 present and former priests accused of molesting children that was turned over to Massachusetts district attorneys earlier this year by the Archdiocese of Boston.
If investigators are successful in filing charges against Mahan, they would be the first brought against a priest identified to law enforcement by the Archdiocese of Boston.
The Essex County District Attorney's Office became aware of the Mahan allegations through a 51A petition alleging abuse or neglect filed with the state Department of Social Services on July 2, 1997, by Sister Rita McCarthy, assistant to the secretary for ministerial personnel for the archdiocese.
The 51A alleged the nephew, then 11, was raped by Mahan in his Marblehead home beginning in 1995. The allegations were made by Mahan's sister.
The alleged victim is now in his late teens and in basic training in the military. Abromovitz said he would be willing to ask his client to reconsider testifying against Mahan.
"Time has gone by and with all these allegations (involving numerous priests) now out in the open, he might change his mind," the attorney said.
According to a civil suit filed against Mahan by Abromovitz on behalf of the nephew and his older brother, who was also allegedly molested, the archdiocese knew Mahan was sexually dangerous long before the Marblehead allegations came to light, yet Mahan was still allowed to serve as a priest.
Sources said Keating and state trooper John Fallon needed permission from Bishop William F. Murphy to interview Mahan at a treatment home near Baldpate Hospital in Georgetown after the allegations surfaced in 1997.
The home, which was run for the archdiocese by McLean Hospital from 1997 to 1999, treated about a dozen priests for "behavior health issues," according to a McLean Hospital spokeswoman.
Georgetown police were shocked to learn pedophile priests were being treated in town and added they only found out about the residence home because they had been notified by Keating and Fallon, according to sources in Georgetown.
During a five-hour interview with Keating and Fallon, Mahan did not admit to raping his nephew, but said he often dreamed about committing similar acts, sources said. Mahan did confirm he shared a bed with the boy and that he could have had some sexual contact "while he was asleep," sources said.
According to several suits already filed or pending against Mahan involving at least 18 victims, the priest was actively abusing boys and girls while working at St. Matthew's Parish in Dorchester from 1983 to 1994 and at St. Ann's in Dorchester in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Mahan was was sent to several treatment centers used by the archdiocese to "cure" problem priests of pedophilia.
"This guy is the most perverted person I have ever investigated," said one source. "We'd love to see him face criminal charges after all the harm he's (allegedly) done."
Early last year, the archdiocese sought unsuccessfully to have Mahan's priestly records kept from the public. On July 18, 2001, Superior Court Judge Mitchell J. Sikora denied the protective order.
Mahan's last known address was 1600 N. Oak, Apt. 329W, Arlington, Va. In late January, he ignored repeated requests for an interview with the Herald both by phone and in person, and later disconnected his telephone.
Mahan was working as a manager at a Radio Shack store in Arlington, Va., until he was fired last month, sources said.
Laura Moore, a Radio Shack spokeswoman, would only confirm that Mahan no longer works for the company.
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