|Greater Taunton Clerics Included in List of Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse
By Gerry Tuoti
Taunton Daily Gazette
August 26, 2011
[link to the list at bostoncatholic.org] http://www.bostoncatholic.org/Offices-And-Services/Office-Detail.aspx?id=21314&pid=21606
Released Thursday by the Archdiocese of Boston, a list of 157 Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children includes a handful who were assigned to parishes in the Greater Taunton area.
Three priests in the online database were assigned to Sacred Heart Church in Middleboro at some point during their ministry, and four others spent parts of their careers at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Bridgewater. It does not appear from previously published reports that the alleged abuse took place while the priests were at those local parishes.
Most of Bristol County, including Taunton, is in the Fall River Diocese. The list released Thursday includes only accused priests who were assigned to parishes in the Boston Archdiocese during their careers.
John F. Keane and the late Bernard St. Hilaire were both assigned to Sacred Heart in the late 1960s — Keane from 1969-73 and St. Hilaire from 1966-68, according to the database. Most of the priests listed in the database have previously been accused publicly, either in lawsuits or press reports.
Keane, who also was assigned to churches in Milton, Stoughton and Holbrook, pleaded guilty in 2008 to indecent assault and battery of a girl under the age of 14. The abuse, according to previously published reports, occurred in the early 1980s in Milton. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and probation and was last known to have lived in Florida. The Catholic Church dismissed him from the priesthood in 2009.
The Rev. St. Hilaire, who was born in 1924, ordained in 1951 and died in 1977, was also assigned to parishes in Lowell, Beverly, Lynn and Mattapan. According to information provided by the archdiocese, no formal determination of guilt was made before his death.
“In most cases, allegations were received only after the priest’s death,” the archdiocese website states in reference to the category under which St. Hilaire is listed in the database. “In others, the priest died before the completion of proceedings.”
Another former Sacred Heart priest, the late Rev. Frank E. Fairbairn, also falls into that category. Neither criminal nor canonical proceedings had been completed at the time of his death in 2000, but various outlets had already published the existence of allegations against him. Fairbairn, born in 1942 and ordained in 1969, was a temporary vicar at Sacred Heart in 1993. He had also been assigned to churches in Quincy, East Bridgewater and West Acton. He was accused of having abused a 14-year-old boy in Quincy in 1970.
The four accused priests with ties to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Bridgewater were assigned there during the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Three of them died before criminal or canonical proceedings were completed.
The Rev. Gerard Creighton, who died in 2004, was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas from 1951-52. He was later reassigned to parishes in Lynn, Natick, Maynard, Dorchester, Boston, Winthrop and Abington. He was accused in 1978 of molesting a teenage girl in 1958 in Boston, according to published reports.
The Rev. Eugene J. Bailot, who lived from 1906-83, was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas from 1955-57. He also was assigned to churches in Cohasset, Wellesley, Rockland, Cambridge, Belmont, Jamaica Plain, Medford, Saugus, Peabody and Pembroke.
The Rev. Michael Sullivan, who lived from 1916-2005, was at St. Thomas Aquinas from 1945-47. He later was assigned to parishes in Boston, Maynard, Quincy and Norfolk. He was included in a list of accused priests that was published this past January by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian.
The fourth accused priest linked to the Bridgewater parish is Patrick J. Tague, who was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas from 1967-69. He was accused in 2002 of having sexually assaulted a boy in 1971 at a Department of Youth Services facility, according to previously published reports.. He was also assigned to churches in Lowell, Braintree, Somerville and Hingham. The Catholic Church dismissed Tague from the priesthood in 2006.
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