Archdiocese Puts Andover Priest on Leave over Sexual Abuse Allegation
By Lisa Kashinsky
April 9, 2019
An Andover priest has been placed on leave by the Archdiocese of Boston following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor said to have taken place 28 years ago, the archdiocese said Tuesday.
The Rev. Peter Gori, a pastor at St. Augustine’s Church, was put on administrative leave after the alleged misconduct came to light, the church said. The archdiocese said it “immediately informed law enforcement” and forwarded the matter to the Augustinian Province to investigate.
“The Archdiocese of Boston is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of children and young people in our parishes and institutions,” it said in a statement.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by priests, said he is representing the person who claims “he was sexually abused as a minor” by Gori “in 1990 when he was approximately 10 years old.” Garabedian said his client also alleges he was sexually abused as a minor by the Rev. William F. Waters between 1987 and 1990, when he was 8 to 10 years old. During the alleged abuse, both priests were assigned to either St. Augustine’s Church in Lawrence or Andover, Garabedian said.
“By coming forward my client is trying to heal, empower other victims and make the world a safer place for children,” Garabedian said.
Patty Ehlbeck, an administrative assistant at St. Augustine’s, said Gori was placed on leave on Tuesday, adding, “We’re a strong community and they love him and we’ll get through.”
Gori, a religious order priest, was previously a canon lawyer for the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston and was said to hold a doctorate in canon law. Gori’s biography remained on the Andover church’s website Tuesday afternoon, though his contact information was deleted. Gori was twice assigned to St. Augustine’s, first from 1988-93, and from 2009 onward. He grew up in Reading, the youngest of four children, and attended Austin Prep, where he first met the Augustinian Friars he later joined in 1973. His studies and religious practice took him to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York and Rome, and he also maintained a private practice.
Gori has served on the board of directors for several Merrimack Valley institutions, including Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence and Holy Family Hospital in Methuen — from which he resigned in May 2017. Lazarus House learned of the allegation Tuesday, saying in a statement, “At this time, we are awaiting additional information and praying for all parties concerned.”