Former Priest Pleads Innocent to Child Rape Charges

Associated Press, carried in Boston Herald [Boston MA]
April 5, 2005

BOSTON - A defrocked Catholic priest pleaded innocent to child rape charges Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court and was released on $5,000 bail.

Robert Burns, 56, of Concord, N.H., is charged with six counts of rape of a child under 16, and seven counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

Prosecutors said Burns molested five boys while he was assigned to parishes in the Jamaica Plain and Charlestown sections of Boston between the mid-1980s and early 90s.

Burns was convicted in 1996 of indecent assault of a child and was imprisoned for three years in New Hampshire. He was defrocked in 1999.

As conditions of his bail, Burns was ordered to have no unsupervised contact with children, report to a probation officer every week, and to surrender a passport if he has one, according to the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

Burns must return to court May 17 for a pretrial hearing.

The alleged abuse occurred while Burns was a priest assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Jamaica Plain and St. Mary's in Charlestown.


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