Rev. Coonan Arrested Again in Alleged Assault on Family

By John Dignam
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
September 23, 2006

Oxford — The Rev. Joseph Coonan, against whom domestic assault and battery charges were recently dropped, was arrested last night on similar charges involving the same alleged victims — his mother and sister.

Rev. Coonan, 58, held last night at the police station on $740 bail, was scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Dudley District Court.

He will be charged with two counts of domestic assault and battery on a person over 65 (his mother), intimidation of a witness, two counts of domestic assault and battery on a disabled person (his sister), and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a 12-pack of Pepsi).

Rev. Coonan lives in an apartment at 3 Hope Ave. with his sister, Patricia A. Loiselle, and his mother, Mabel G. Coonan.

Sgt. Anthony P. Saad said a neighbor called police about 6 last night after Ms. Loiselle, "upset and crying," had called the neighbor. Sgt. Saad said the neighbor, whose identify was not available, went to the Coonan home where she had a verbal altercation with Rev. Coonan, who then left the area.

While at the house, police heard horns blaring and looked up Hope Avenue to Dudley Road to see Rev. Coonan, his Buick Regal stopped in the road, looking down Hope Avenue. The blaring horns came from cars of the drivers stopped on the road behind Rev. Coonan, Sgt. Saad said.

Rev. Coonan drove away, but police stopped him shortly thereafter and arrested him without incident.

Sgt. Saad said Mrs. Coonan and Ms. Loiselle displayed some "superficial injuries" that did not require treatment.

Police arrested Rev. Coonan in February on charges of domestic assault and battery, intimidating a witness and assault and battery on a person over 65 in connection with a dispute between Rev. Coonan, his sister and his mother.

Both women in August filed statements with the court asking that the charges be dropped. District Court Judge Robert L. Howarth dismissed the charges at the request of prosecutors in the Worcester District Attorney's office.

A police report said Mrs. Coonan told police in February that her son's argumentativeness had been "an ongoing problem that escalates when he consumes alcohol" and that he had been drinking beer that night.

Sgt. Saad said he believes alcohol was involved in last night's incident.

The Diocese of Worcester placed Rev. Coonan on administrative leave in 2002 after allegations of sexual misconduct from the 1970s became public. At that time, he was pastor of St. John's Church in Worcester. The allegations were about activities before Rev. Coonan entered the priesthood. A diocesan spokesman said earlier this month that Rev. Coonan remained on administrative leave.



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