Accused of Abuse, Priest Put on Leave
Hudson Parish, State Notified
By Charles A. Radin
Boston Globe [Hudson MA]
November 28, 2006
The Rev. Steven Poitras, associate pastor of St. Michael Parish in Hudson, has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a child in 1994, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced yesterday.
The Massachusetts attorney general's office and the Essex district attorney's office have been notified of the accusation, the archdiocese said in a statement; an internal investigation has also been launched. "The decision to place Father Poitras on administrative leave does not represent a determination of his guilt or innocence," the archdiocese said.
Kelly Lynch of the archdiocese's public relations firm, said parishioners were notified by the parish priest at Masses last weekend that Poitras was being put on leave because of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.
She would not provide specifics of the alleged abuse, citing "the confidential nature of the investigation."
She said the alleged abuse did not occur at the parish to which Poitras was assigned.
Poitras, who was ordained in 1993, served as assistant pastor at St. Michael Parish in North Andover and St. Ann Parish in Somerville before being assigned to the number two position at St. Michael's in Hudson, a large parish with an elementary school and a high school. Lynch said he has never been in charge of a parish.
Dorothy Kennedy -- president of the Boston-area council of Voice of the Faithful, an organization of Catholics formed to support survivors of sexual abuse and to push for reform in the church -- said: "We are glad that they are announcing he will be placed on administrative leave. It is an indication of greater transparency."
But Kennedy and Ray Joyce, executive director of Voice of the Faithful's national office, said that activists are frustrated by the Boston archdiocese's refusal to release to the public a list of priests against whom credible allegations of sexual misconduct have been made.
Joyce said that according to figures compiled by the state attorney general's office, more than 250 priests and other archdiocesan workers have been accused of molesting nearly 800 children.
Messages left for Poitras at the parish were not returned.
Charles A. Radin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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