Accused Priests Were Not Restricted
New Files Show Suspected Abusers Were Moved to Parishes Where They Continued to Have Access to Children
The Associated Press
February 5, 2003
BOSTON - Documents released yesterday show what victims say has been a disturbing pattern in the yearlong clergy scandal: Priests accused of sexual abuse have been allowed to move to other states, where they continued to have access to children.
The personnel files of five priests released yesterday are among 24 new files handed over last week by the Boston archdiocese to attorneys for alleged victims of the Rev. Paul Shanley. The new files were originally thought to contain allegations of clergy sexual misconduct with adults only, but attorneys for alleged victims found they also contained allegations about the sexual abuse of children.
One priest, the Rev. John Picardi Jr., admitted to Boston church officials that he had raped a 29-year-old man, but he was allowed to resume parish work in New Jersey, where he was later accused of putting his hand on the buttocks of a 5th-grade girl, according to the documents. Eventually, he ended up in Arizona, where he is now serving as a priest at a parish in Flagstaff.
In another case, Deacon Mark Doherty was accused of molesting two brothers during a 1977 camping trip. Years later, a woman told church officials Doherty molested her when she was a child. Two brothers from another family said Doherty had also molested them.
Church officials, including Cardinal Bernard Law, refused Doherty's request to be ordained as a priest, citing the abuse allegations. Law wrote letters to former Bishop William Curlin of Charlotte, N.C., informing him of the allegations against Doherty and saying he would not recommend him for ordination.
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