Chelsea Priest Put on Leave after Sex Accusation

By Marie Szaniszlo
Boston Herald
August 11, 2002

The Boston Archdiocese placed a Chelsea priest on administrative leave yesterday after he was accused of sexually abusing a child nearly 30 years ago.

The Rev. Anthony J. Rebeiro, chaplain of Quigley Memorial Hospital and Soldiers' Home, was removed from all assignments, pending further review, said Donna M. Morrissey, an archdiocesan spokeswoman.

Rebeiro is the 19th Boston-area priest to be placed on leave since the sexual-abuse crisis began in January. Three priests have been indicted on criminal charges.

Morrissey said she did not know the exact nature of the allegation, but said it was reported to the archdiocese for the first time only recently, and determined to have enough substance to warrant further investigation.

She declined to release details of the case, citing the privacy of both the alleged victim and the priest.

"The rights of the victim and the accused priest are to be respected," Morrissey said, "and any action taken in the course of an investigation is not to be construed as an implication of guilt."

The archdiocese has contacted both the hospital and the veterans home, and is in the process of notifying civil authorities, in accordance with its policy of doing so within 48 hours, she said. It also has offered both the alleged victim and the priest counseling.

Until the investigation is complete, Rebeiro will continue to receive a salary and medical benefits, but will not be allowed to perform any public ministry in the church, Morrissey said.


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