Sex-Abuse Suit Targets 5 Jesuits, Including Dead Priest
By Maggie Mulvihill
April 19, 2002
A deceased Jesuit priest and four of his supervisors have been sued for the sexual abuse of three boys while the cleric, the Rev. George V. McCabe, worked at a Revere parish run by the Boston archdiocese.
The suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, also names former Jesuit provincials, the Rev. William G. Guindon and the Rev. Richard T. Cleary, as well as another unnamed Jesuit and a Boston archdiocesan official, for the negligent supervision of McCabe, who died in 1998.
The lawsuit marks the second time Jesuits in the Boston area have been publicly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the past month.
In March, the Jesuit New England Province turned over to law enforcement the names of seven priests who either taught or were involved with students at Jesuit-run Boston College High School after being accused of molesting students in the early 1970s and 1980s.
And Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said yesterday of the 35 names of accused molester priests recently referred to his office, nine are Jesuits.
One of the victims who brought the current lawsuit, now 41 and living in Beverly, said yesterday McCabe began molesting him in 1971, when he was 11 years old. McCabe invited him onto his fishing boat, which he docked at Revere's Captain Fowler Marina, he said.
"He seemed like a nice guy and I was brought up Catholic. If you are brought up Catholic, you automatically trust a priest," said the alleged victim, who along with his brother and cousin filed the lawsuit.
The man said he repressed the alleged abuse by McCabe until 1999 when he was on an annual trip to Aruba and saw another priest, wearing a collar, on a boat similar to McCabe's.
"Ever since then, I haven't been on another boat and I go to Aruba every year," the alleged victim said. "I can't stop thinking about it. It makes me angry and mad and I wish he were alive so he would have to go through this, too.
"He's hurt me in a lot of ways. I can't have anything to do with priests, I don't go to church. I get mad at my wife more than I should. I drink more than I should. I hold things in more. It's terrible."
The alleged victim said McCabe invited him along on the boat trips with his cousin, who was an altar boy at St. Theresa's Catholic parish in Revere in the early 1970s.
His older brother was also abused on the boat.
McCabe's abuse of the cousin, now in his early 40s and still living in Revere, took place in the church's attic, in McCabe's car, and in the boy's house while his parents were home, the complaint states.
Cleary, 69, the longtime chaplain at Boston College who now is a campus minister at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said he was the head of the local Jesuit province, known as the Provincial, beginning in 1974 and never knew McCabe to be a problem.
"He taught public speaking at the seminary, and he had a big booming voice and was a very good preacher, but I wouldn't have suspected him of anything like this," said Cleary, who was in charge of 950 Jesuits at the time the abuse allegedly occurred.
"I was shocked to hear about it. I'm not callous about it. I am very saddened by all of it. But I just don't know anything about it."
Guindon, Cleary's predecessor as the New England Provincial, is retired and living at the Jesuit's Campion Center in Weston. He declined comment yesterday.
The current provincial, the Rev. Robert Levens S.J., did not return a telephone call seeking comment, and attorney Thomas H. Hannigan Jr., who represents the Jesuits locally, declined comment.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents the victims, said he is still seeking the names of both the Boston archdiocesan official responsible for supervising McCabe while he worked at St. Theresa's as well as another Jesuit supervisor responsible for overseeing him.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.