Vatican Defrocks Peter J. Inzerillo, Priest Accused in Sex Assaults in Massachusetts Dating Back Decades
By Phil Demers
January 26, 2018
At his own request, Peter J. Inzerillo, a Worcester priest accused of sex abuse, has been defrocked by the Vatican and Pope Francis, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester.
"It is my fervent prayer that Christ may bring healing and hope to anyone who has been abused by a priest or by anyone in the Catholic Church," Bishop Robert McManus, the leader of Worcester's Roman Catholic diocese, said in a statement on the development released this week.
Added the statement, "As a result of the laicization, (Inzerillo) may not function in any capacity as a priest or be referred to as a priest or as "Father" in writing such as in event announcements or obituaries."
Now 74 and ordained in 1970, Inzerillo formerly served as headmaster of St. Peter-Marian High School in Worcester from 1979 to 1985, also coaching hockey there and at St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg during the time.
The first accusation of sexual abuse against Inzerillo came in 1985, when a 19-year-old man considering entering the seminary said Inzerillo assaulted him. In 1996, a second person came forward with allegations of inappropriate conduct against Inzerillo.
In 1999, the diocese -- facing a civil lawsuit -- paid out $300,000 to the first victim, but neglected to remove Inzerillo from the ministry for another three years.
"Mr. Inzerillo has not had faculties for priestly ministry since that time (2002)," read the diocese statement on Inzerillo.
Inzerillo was never criminally charged.