Plaintiffs Seek Other Problem Priests' Names
Reilly's Records Show 96 More Linked to Abuse
By Ralph Ranalli
July 31, 2003
Even as Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley ushered in a new era for the Archdiocese of Boston yesterday, lawyers for victims of sexual abuse continued to press church officials in court, this time for records on 96 other priests alleged to have been involved in sexual misconduct.
That number represents the difference between the 237 allegedly abusive priests cited in the recent report from Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly on the sexual abuse of children and the 141 priests identified in records turned over to lawyers for those suing the archdiocese.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, more than 500 of them, said they are puzzled by the discrepancy, because they believed that Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney had ordered the archdiocese to turn over the records of all priests allegedly involved in sexual abuse of children.
"We were actually shocked to find out that the AG's office has many documents we don't have," said Roderick MacLeish Jr., a lawyer for the Boston firm Greenberg Traurig, which represents more than 260 people suing the archdiocese.
MacLeish said he sent a letter to Wilson Rogers Jr., the lawyer whose firm has been representing the archdiocese, demanding the church turn over all records that were turned over to the attorney general's grand jury investigation but not given to the plaintiffs.
Neither Rogers nor Thomas H. Hannigan Jr., the lawyer hired by O'Malley last month to help settle the civil claims against the archdiocese, returned telephone calls seeking comment.
Meanwhile yesterday, a Plymouth County Probate Court judge ordered the Rev. James D. Foley to submit to a DNA paternity test to determine whether he is the father of James and Emily Perry, a brother and sister in their 30s whose mother had a longtime affair with Foley in the 1960s and 1970s.
Judge James V. Menno ruled that because Foley has admitted to the affair with Rita J. Foley and said he probably fathered two of her children, he was the one who "brought the issue of . . . paternity to the public eye."
"They [the Perrys] did not go in search of it," Menno wrote in his four-page decision. "Now they each have a right to know if the defendant is their father. Plain and simple."
A lawyer for the Perrys, Cynthia Stone Creem, said they
were satisfied with the decision. "They feel relieved," Creem said. "They are just sorry that it had to go this far."
Foley's lawyer, Charles J. Bowser Jr., did not return a telephone call seeking comment on the ruling.
In a January meeting arranged by the Office of Healing and Assistance, an agency of the archdiocese, Foley met the Perrys and apologized for not doing more to save their mother, who died of a drug overdose at her Needham home in 1973. She was 41.
Foley, the Perry siblings said, acknowledged that he panicked after she collapsed and that, after he was unable to revive her, he made an anonymous telephone call from her home to Needham police and fled. Foley denied an account in church records in which he told church officials that he fled the house first and only called police later.
Menno did not specify a date for the DNA test, but ordered the two sides to come up with a mutually acceptable schedule.
This story ran on page B6 of the Boston Globe on 7/31/2003.
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