Boy, Girl Allege Sexual Abuse by Priest at St. Peter’s Church in Cambridge
By Erin Baldassari
Wicked Local Cambridge
November 1, 2013
At least one man and one woman say they were sexually abused as children by a priest at St. Peter’s Parish on Concord Avenue in Cambridge in the 1970s.
Survivors of clergy sexual abuse, representatives from the New Jersey-based non-profit Road to Recovery, supporters and friends will be leafleting at the church on Saturday, No. 2 and Sunday, Nov. 3 in an effort to raise awareness about the allegations and encourage other victims to come forward.
Both victims said they were sexually molested while Father James Braley was assigned to the church from 1975-1981.
“We want to let them know what happened there because we’re pretty sure there were dozens of people who were abused,” said Robert Hoatson, the president of Road to Recovery, an organization that works with victims of clergy sexual abuse. “Hopefully we can begin the healing process.”
Neither of the two victims were immediately available for comment, but a lawyer who represents both victims detailed the allegations. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the male victim was 14 year old when the abuse began; the girl was just 10.
The male victim reportedly became an altar boy before Braley began “grooming” him, serving him alcohol in the rectory, and eventually sexually abusing him. The abuse began when he was 14, Garabedian said, and continued until he was 27, long after Braley had moved on to another church.
Braley reportedly abused the female victim in the confessional booth, where Braley asked her to sit on his lap and then molested and raped her.
“He told her that anything that happens in the confessional is confidential and if she told anyone, she wouldn’t get into heaven,” Garabedian said.
Braley moved around a number of times, serving stints in Plymouth, Lynn, Marblehead, Norwood and others places, Hoatson said.
“He was even part of the emergency response team for the Archdiocese based out of Brighton,” Hoatson said. “So believe it or not, he was actually sent in when other priests were taken out for sexually abusing children.”
When the female victim asked the church to investigate the allegations last year, they reportedly told her she didn’t have a case and dismissed her charges, Garabedian said. The man came to Garabedian for representation separately, he said.
The leafleting is scheduled for 3:15 – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, and 8:30 a.m. – 12noon on Sunday, Nov. 3, in front of the St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church at 100 Concord Ave. in Cambridge.
To reach Road to Recovery, call Hoatson at: 862-368-2800.