Former East Somerville Priest Cleared of Molestation Charges by Archdiocese
Wicked Local Somerville
August 11, 2012
A Somerville priest accused of sexually abusing a child 7 years ago has been cleared of the charge by the Archdiocese of Boston, but he will no longer minister at his old parish.
The Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston concluded claims of sexual abuse involving John E. McLaughlin of St. Benedict’s in East Somerville were “unsubstantiated,” according to a press release. McLaughlin was placed on administrative leave in 2005 and is now assigned the status of Senior Priest, which essentially means he is retired, according to Archdiocese spokeswoman Kellyanne Dignan.
The press release states that “Cardinal Sean O’Malley recognized that this matter took an unusually long time to adjudicate and prays for all persons impacted by these matters.” Dignan said the Archdiocese has examined more than 1,000 claims of abuse since 2002.
“Every attempt has been made to bring [cases] to an expeditious conclusion,” Dignan said. “But there are cases that take longer than we would like and this is one.”
The 2005 accusations were based on an incident the accuser said occurred in the 1980s, before McLaughlin arrived at St. Benedict’s in 1986. But in 2003, two adult men accused McLauglin of sexual assault at the church. In one of the accusations, a 40-year-old man accused McLaughlin of pawing his groin area and trying to kiss the victim while he was seeking advice from the priest about troubles in his family.
Both accusations were part of an $85 million settlement between the archdiocese and abuse victims, in which neither the church nor any priests admitted responsibility.
At the time of the 2005 accusations, parishioners rallied behind McLaughlin. According to a Journal article, more than 300 people showed up at a meeting to support him.
"This is nonsense," said parishioner John Morabito as the crowd erupted with applause, according to the article. "That man is a wonderful person."