Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyer Adds 3 to List of Alleged Perpetrators after Settlement with Boston Archdiocese
By Anne-Gerard Flynn
Springfield Republican via Mass Live
September 16, 2002
BOSTON — Mitchell Garabedian, whose law firm has obtained countless clergy sexual abuse settlements or arbitration awards on behalf of clients, has made public the names of three priests contained in a recent settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston.
The three names were posted on the firm’s website.
“Survivors want me to post the names of their perpetrators as part of the healing process,” said Garabedian in reference to the list he posts related to monetary awards in which the accused may maintain their innocence as such compensation is not an admission of guilt.
Survivors and their advocates have long called for more transparency and comprehensive from the church on clergy accused of sexual abuse, with some law firms publishing lists of accused clergy related to settlements. Some dioceses publish some data when allegations are found credible. In Massachusetts, Worcester and Fall River have no such listing, while Springfield and Boston do.
The Boston archdiocese does list the names of priests who have been sentenced or sanctioned on such charges either as the result of criminal or church proceedings, as well as those living archdiocesan clergy with such publicized cases not yet resolved.
It does not list deceased clergy who have not been publicly accused and had no church proceedings conducted or completed on sexual allegations against them even when the archdiocese gives compensation in a case involving such allegations made after their death.
In his explanation of why his archdiocese does not list such priests accused after their death, Cardinal Sean O’Malley has written that “it is extremely difficult to determine the credibility of these accusation, given that they involve matters that typically occurred decades ago,” and that the deceased has “no chance to address the allegations begin brought against him.”
A negotiated settlement does not involve an admission of guilt.
The allegations of indecent assault and battery on a child as reported in Garabedian’s three separate recent claims with the archdiocese date back decades, and Garabedian said were brought forth in the last two years.
He said one claim involved the Rev. Sylvio Ruest who was alleged to have “sexually abused a male child at least five times, who was then approximately 13 to 14 years old,” when Ruest was assigned to Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bellingham.
Another claim involved the Rev. T. Raymond Sullivan, who was alleged to have “sexually abused a male child at least two times who was then approximately 14 years old,” when Sullivan was assigned to St. Therese’s Church in Dracut, Garabedian said
In the third claim, Garabedian said the Rev. John Salvucci was alleged to have “sexually abused a male child at least 20 times who was then approximately 15 to 17 years old,” when Salvucci was assigned to St. Mary’s Church in Billerica.
Ruest and Sullivan are now deceased, said Garabedian, adding he had no information on Salvucci.
The archdiocese did announce this week that the Rev. James E. Gaudreau, who was placed on administrative leave by the archdiocese in 2012 for an allegation of sexual abuse against a minor in 2006, had been found guilty of such abuse and a sanction of a life of prayer and penance affirmed by the Vatican.
It was unclear what church process was involved and whether Gaudreau, the former pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Lynn, had appealed any decision at any point.
Bishops generally, with the aid of review board, investigate allegations and may then send documentation to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican looking for how to proceed in terms of further investigation and sanction.
Gaudreau, who once served on the board of trustees at Boston’s St. John’s Seminary, had come to St. Joseph Parish in 1984 to serve for several years as the Spanish apostolate in the Lynn area. He became church pastor in 1993.
The archdiocese placed him on administration leave and notified law enforcement when it said it learned, in 2012, of the sexual abuse allegation of a minor reported to have occurred in “approximately 2006.”
In 2013, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office said Gaudreau was not being charged after a year-long investigation and, through his attorney, Gaudreau issued a statement saying that he knew that he “was innocent of any wrongdoing” and “would be thoroughly exonerated.”
The archdiocese said at the time that the conclusion of the criminal investigation would allow it to move forward with the “ecclesiastical process.”
In a 2014 posting on Facebook, Gaudreau, who is now in his late 70s, had told supporters his resignation as pastor of St. Joseph had been requested and that the investigation process had been referred by Rome to another diocese.
Sometimes in such cases, the priest found guilty is removed from the clerical state or sanctioned to a life of prayer and penance. The later sanction, under which Gaudreau is now listed on the archdiocese website, enables the Church to continue financial support.
Survivor groups have called for the permanent removal from the clerical state of any priest determined to have sexual abused a minor.
The archdiocese also announced this week the dismissal by the Vatican from the clerical state of John Lyons, a former Rochester priest who was placed on administrative leave by the archdiocese in 2002 after two men field a lawsuit charging he had sexually abused them in the 1970s and 1980s in a Brighton church.
Lyons was acquitted in 2005 by a Brockton Superior Court jury of raping a young parishioner in the 1980s, who had reported the allegations to law enforcement in 2002 and for which Lyons was arrested.
The parishioner did receive a settlement based on those allegations from the archdiocese.
Lyons is listed on the archdiocese website as dismissed from the clerical state.