|Former Upton Priest Facing Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
By Brian Benson
Milford Daily News
January 9, 2011
A former priest at the Holy Angels Church in Upton is facing a lawsuit after he allegedly assaulted and abused a boy between 1979 and 1982.
The boy, who is now in his late 30s and lives in Worcester County, filed a complaint in Worcester Superior Court last week against Ronald Provost and the Diocese of Worcester.
The complaint alleges that Provost sexually assaulted and abused the man in Provost's van in Worcester between 1979 and 1982, when the victim was 8 to 11 years old.
Provost was assigned to Holy Angels from 1986 to 1988, according to BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts nonprofit organization that maintains a website containing a collection of public documents on abuse cases in the Catholic church.
Provost, reached by telephone at his Worcester home yesterday morning, said he received the suit but knew little about it.
"I really can't believe it," he said, but would not elaborate on that comment.
In 1993, Provost was convicted in Worcester Superior Court of soliciting a child to pose in a state of sexual nudity, said Carmen L. Durso, a Boston lawyer representing the Worcester County victim.
During the investigation into that crime, Provost showed investigators more than 100 nude photographs of young boys, but the diocese did not attempt to determine the identities of the victims or to offer them treatment and support, Durso said.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester did not return a call yesterday seeking comment.
According to the complaint, the victim has had psychological treatment and therapy and will require those services in the future. He was "seriously and permanently injured and continues to suffer at present from psychological disease, which impairs and affects all aspects of his life," the complaint said.
Durso, who has filed hundreds of lawsuits against priests in Massachusetts, said he conducted a study that found that victims on average were 46 years old before they report abuse.
"Males in particular suppress this because of all the shame that's involved with another male having sexual contact with them," Durso said. "It's not something they can talk with other peers about because it's something they've been led to believe is shameful."
The Rev. Laurence V. Brault, the current pastor at Holy Angels, said he wrote a letter to parishioners when he came to the church in the early 1990s acknowledging that Provost had been charged and asking people to come forward if they thought they were victims.
"And no one did," Brault said yesterday, adding that he did not know Provost.
Brian Benson can be reached at 508-634-7582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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