Bishop Releases Names of Priests Accused in Sex Scandal
By Mike Higgins
January 29, 2007
Regional (Jan 29, 2007): Portland's Roman Catholic bishop has released the names of four priests accused of sexual abuse of children.
Speaking on Jan. 27, Bishop Richard Malone identified the priests, who all were removed from the ministry before June 2002 because of the allegations, though their names had not been made public previously.
The four priests are: George Beaudet, 77, who served in nine parishes, including St. Mary's in Westbrook before being removed from the ministry in 2000; Michael Plourde, 56, who served at parishes in Sanford, Biddeford and Westbrook before being removed by the ministry in 1994; Ronald Michaud, 60, who served in parishes in Portland, Biddeford and Cape Elizabeth before he was removed in 1989; and Fredrick Carrigan, 70, who served at parishes in Bath and Bangor before he was removed in 2002.
The cases against the four priests are still under review by the Vatican, but Malone has recommended laicization for all four, a process that means permanent removal from the priesthood, explained Sue Bernard, a spokeswoman for the diocese.
The release of the priests' names is a change from the church's previous policy, where the names of the accused priests were released only after the Vatican had made a ruling on the cases.
Malone said he decided to make the names of accused priests public because he felt the Vatican was taking too long to make a decision.
"In some instances, the process has taken longer than I anticipated," said Malone. "I am unsure how long it will be before all of our cases are resolved. This being the case, I have become increasingly concerned about the possible risk of re-offense in cases of those not publicly identified."
In addition to releasing the names of the four priests whose cases are being considered by the Vatican, Malone also announced the results of two cases that had been decided by the Vatican.
He said Francis Kane, 79, who served in parishes in Biddeford, Cape Elizabeth and Portland before being removed from the ministry in 1997, and Peter Gorham, 79, who served in parishes in Portland and Bangor before his retirement in 1996, have been assigned what the bishop termed "a life of prayer and penance."
Bernard explained that the church assigns a life of prayer and penance to people who are either old or in poor health. She said the two men are not allowed to present themselves as priests, but the church provides basic necessities to support them.
For complete local stories, see the Jan. 31 issue of the Weekly Observer, the Feb 1 issue of the American Journal and The Current and the Feb. 2 issue of the Sun Chronicle.
Based in Westbrook, Web Editor Mike Higgins can be reached at 207-854-2577 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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