LYNN —Â The longtime pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, The Rev. James Gaudreau, is not being charged after a yearlong investigation into an allegation of child sexual abuse.
“I thank God and His Blessed Mother for this day of deliverance, and I thank all those parishioners of St. Joseph’s Parish and others who stood by me and prayed for me during this long ordeal,” Gaudreau said in a statement through his attorney. “My conscience was always clear. I knew that I was innocent of any wrongdoing. I was also confident that, in time, I would be thoroughly exonerated.”
But Gaudreau remains on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an investigation by the archdiocese.
“While the criminal investigation may have concluded, Gaudreau is well aware that the ecclesiastical process can now continue,” Terrence Donilon, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, said in an email Monday. “Under our policies and procedures a preliminary investigation may now continue given that it will not interfere with a civil investigation. Gaudreau remains on administrative leave and restricted from public ministry. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all persons affected by these matters.”
Gaudreau has been at St. Joseph’s Parish since 1984 and its pastor since 1993. He was placed on administrative leave in September 2012 after the Archdiocese of Boston received an allegation that Gaudreau had sexually abused a child in an incident in 2006.
Several parishioners interviewed last year said they were shocked at the allegation and believed it was motivated by revenge or greed against the longtime pastor, who parishioners said could be stern and sometimes confrontational.
A spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett confirmed Gaudreau is not being charged.
“I can confirm that there are no charges against Rev. Gaudreau at this time, and because our office does not comment on investigations, I can make no further statement,” said the spokeswoman, Carrie Kimball-Monahan.
Gaudreau’s attorney, Frank L. McNamara Jr., said he hoped the Archdiocese would quickly conclude its investigation into the matter and clear Gaudreau.
“Now that the Lynn Police Department and the Office of the Essex County District Attorney have cleared Father Gaudreau, I hope that the Archdiocese of Boston will do the same,” McNamara said in a statement.
He added that he hoped that investigation would be completed quickly and that Gaudreau could return to St. Joseph’s. While the Essex District Attorney spokesperson said she could not comment on an investigation, McNamara said the district attorney’s office indicated they were “closing the file.” He said he considered the matter resolved with law enforcement authorities as he did not anticipate any new facts or accusations in the case.
McNamara reported Gaudreau was doing “considerably well considering the ordeal he has just been through.”
“He is a very spiritual man who draws on his spiritual resources on good times and bad,” McNamara said.