Two with Local Ties Among 4 Defrocked Priests

MetroWest Daily News
June 13, 2011

The Archdiocese of Boston today announced four priests have been defrocked, including one who served at Immaculate Conception in Marlborough from 1973-83, and one who served briefly at St. John the Evangelist in Wellesley and as campus minister at Regis College.

Benjamin McMahon, the former associate pastor at the Marlborough church, Robert F. Daly, John Keane and Robert Knapp, who served in Wellesley and at the Weston college, ``are no longer in the clerical state,'' the archdiocese said in a release this afternoon.

Daly, Knapp and McMahon ``sought, through a voluntary process, to be removed from the clerical state.'' Keane was dismissed.

The four men have not received any financial support from the archdiocese in more than two decades, the archdiocese released stated.

McMahon has not had faculties to minister publicly since 1986, when he was granted a leave of absence, the archdiocese said. He was first accused of sexual abuse in 1991 and has been suspended since that time.

In 1991, three Marlborough brothers reported that McMahon had abused them during his tenure at the church. The associate pastor at Immaculate Conception at the time, the Rev. Walter Cuenin, reported the accusations to church officials. McMahon did not face charges, but the archdiocese paid for counseling for the accusers, according to 2002 reports.

Knapp was first accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1985. He has been absent without permission from the archdiocese since 1988. His assignments included St. John the Evangelist in Wellesley in 1971-72, as well as parishes in Quincy, Danvers and Cambridge. He was a campus minister at Regis College in Weston from 1982-86.

Daly, ordained in 1967, has not had faculties to minister publicly since 1984, when he began a leave of absence. After leaving ministry, he was accused of sexually abusing minors in the 1970s and early 1980s. He served in parishes in North Weymouth, Charlestown, Brockton and Readville.

In 2008, Keane pleaded guilty to one charge of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 as well as three charges of assault and battery on a child. At the time the accusations were made, Keane had not served in the archdiocese for nearly 20 years having been absent without permission since 1989. His previous assignments included churches in Burlington, Braintree, Brockton, Weymouth, Wrentham, Middleboro, Milton, Gloucester and Brookline.

As a result of the Holy See's decisions, the four men may no longer function in any capacity as priests, with the exception of offering absolution to the dying.

Last August, another priest who served Immaculate Conception Parish in Marlborough and Framingham's St. Stephen Parish was defrocked. Dennis Keefe served as parochial vicar in Marlborough in 1994 and as team ministry member in Framingham before being placed on administrative leave in 1995.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley yesterday expressed his ``continued prayers for all persons impacted by the painful reality of sexual abuse of children and young people by clergy,'' and encouraged anyone in need of pastoral assistance to contact the Archdiocese Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, 781-794-2581.


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