Former Catholic priest who served parishes in Fitchburg and Leominster is defrocked by Pope Francis
Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel & Enterprise
January 27, 2018
WORCESTER -- A former priest who served Catholic Churches in Fitchburg and Leominster in the late 1990s and early 2000s and accused of sexually abusing a teenager in 1993 has been laicized, or defrocked, according to the diocese.
It was announced by diocese Bishop Robert J. McManus that Peter J. Inzerillo had been defrocked on Thursday at his request.
Inzerillo, according to the diocese, was "dispensed" from the clerical state by Pope Francis and as a result he cannot function in any capacity as a priest or be referred to as a priest or as a "Father" in writing in any announcements or obituaries.
"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," said Bishop McManus.
Inzerillo, now 74, was vocational director for the diocese until 1994 -- beginning in 1983 -- when a decade-old allegation made by Spencer man led to the diocese temporarily suspending him from his duties as priest.
The Spencer man, who was 19-years-old at the time, said Inzerillo took advantage of him and abused him in the mid-1990s when he was a 13-year-old altar boy and filed a lawsuit in 1999 that was settled out of court for $300,000.
At the time of the settlement in 2000, Inzerillo voluntarily relinquished has canonical pastorship of Fitchburg's St. Anthony Di Padua.
However, in 2001, Inzerillo was assigned as the associate pastor of St. Leo's Church in Leominster.
In 2002, he was removed from the ministry by former diocese Bishop Daniel P.
Reilly and has not served as a priest since then.
Before being removed, he also served the parish of St. Anna in Leominster, was on the faculty of St. Peter Central Catholic High School and was the headmaster of St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic
McManus encourages anyone in need of pastoral assistance as a result of clerical abuse to contact the diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator in the Office of Healing and Prevention.