Records: Molesters Advised Other Abusers
By Tom Mashberg
June 6, 2002
Hundreds of documents freed up in the Archdiocese of Boston abuse scandal reveal that known clerical molesters were often in a position to oversee or assign other priests with abusive pasts.
For example, the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, now in jail awaiting trial for allegedly raping and abusing minors in the 1980s, was in the position of passing judgment on two notorious priests, jailed and defrocked pedophile James R. Porter, and accused molester Daniel M. Graham.
Documents unsealed by the Herald in the Porter case show that Shanley was the one to urge then-Fall River Bishop Humberto S. Medeiros to send Porter to a New Mexico sex-abuse treatment clinic, Servants of the Paraclete, in 1967.
Papers released Tuesday show Shanley was also asked to advise Graham on how to handle his sexual problems after Graham was accused of molestation in the 1970s.
On Shanley's advice, Graham soon attended Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, a 12-step program. Graham was ousted from his Quincy parish in February after revelations about his alleged past abuses.
Papers on the Rev. Ronald H. Paquin, meanwhile, confirm the longstanding sexual relationship between him and the late Rev. Bernard St. Hilaire, who died in 1977.
In a January interview with the Herald, Paquin admitted abusing minors in Haverhill and Methuen and said his cycle of abuse started after he was taken under St. Hilaire's wing and the priest comforted and sexually abused him.
In a 1996 letter, the Rev. Brian Flatley wrote that a Paquin victim "stated that Fr. Paquin told him that he and Fr. St. Hilaire slept in the same bed for 30 years" - well into Paquin's tenure as a priest.
The Rev. Richard O. Matte, whose file contains numerous sordid allegations and who settled an abuse suit in the 1990s, not only oversaw but informed on two accused molesters, the Revs. Paul M. Desilets, formlery of Bellingham, and Richard A. Buntel, formerly of Malden.
Matte wrote several letters in the mid-1980s to Desilets' Canadian supervisors informing them that Desilets had abused boys there for a decade. Desilets is under indictment for those acts.
Matte also informed on Buntel, who is accused in the documents of abusing a teenage boy after exposing him to drugs and pornography. But the papers say that Matte is himself accused of molesting the same boy even as he told the chancery of the minor's allegations against Buntel.
"Father Matte not only knew of the violent abuse perpetrated by Father Buntel," charges Roderick MacLeish Jr., attorney for the alleged victim, "but he compounded the problem immensely by sexually assaulting (the boy) himself."
In another strange case, the Rev. C. Melvin Surette, who was removed from parish duty amid molestation charges in the mid-1990s, was assigned in 1993 to investigate the Rev. Bernard J. Lane, the pastor of the Alpha-Omega program for troubled teens in Littleton.
But Surette was himself implicated in the molestation attributed to Lane at Alpha-Omega that same year, the documents show. Surette was subsequently reassigned from 1997 to 2000 to the clergy office reponsible for overseeing and reassigning clerical abusers. One of the priests he researched and then found work for was Paquin.
One parish in Lynn, St. Mary's, was assigned three priests on the list of alleged molesters given to law enforcement - the Revs. Robert K. Towner, Richard T. Coughlin and Edward T. Kelley. Kelley lived in the mid-1990s with both Paquin and a defrocked and institutionalized molester, the Rev. Robert E. Barrett at Our Lady's Hall in Milton.
And the Rev. Jon C. Martin, removed from St. Agnes in Middleton in 2001 over "sexual issues," is being sued for his oversight of Christopher R. Reardon, the Catholic Church youth worker convicted of raping and abusing dozens of boys while working for Martin.
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