Jury Finds Rochester Priest Not Guilty in Child Rape Case
By Laura Crimaldi
March 24, 2005
A Plymouth jury yesterday cleared a 77-year-old parish priest of allegations he repeatedly raped a young boy during private religious tutoring sessions at the church office during the 1980s.
The family of the accuser wailed as the Rev.
John P. Lyons closed his eyes and bowed his head when the jury delivered a not-guilty verdict on one count of child rape in Brockton Superior Court.
"I can't believe you would do this to my son," the accuser's mother cried out.
Lyons was put on leave from St. Rose of Lima Church in Rochester in July 2002 when allegations of sexual misconduct first surfaced, said the Rev. James Lanergan, the current church administrator.
Lyons declined comment when reached at his Plymouth home.
The accuser, now 23, alleged Lyons molested him repeatedly between 1987 and 1989 during private tutoring held Saturdays at the Rochester church.
During the trial, defense attorney William J. Cintolo presented church journals that showed the boy received tutoring on Wednesdays and Thursdays while others were present. Cintolo also questioned whether the revelations of the alleged abuse stemmed from repressed memories or were a long-kept secret.
"It's hard to sleep, even though you know you're innocent, knowing the atmosphere and knowing the climate out there is scary," Cintolo said.
Lyons still faces firearms charges that surfaced during the rape investigation.
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