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  Deeply Disturbed

United Press International
September 9, 1984

A 59-year-old Catholic priest who wanted to help set up a foster home for boys is charged with sexually molesting two young boys in charges that "deeply disturbed" the archdiocese.

The Cumberland County Grand jury indicted the Rev. Raymond Lauzon Friday on two counts of gross sexual misconduct. Arraignment was expected sometime next week.

"Obviously he denies it," said Lauzon's attorney, Robert Napolitano.

The first incident of sexual misconduct allegedly occurred sometime between September 1978 and May 1979 in Portland and the second occurred in August 1982, the indictment said.

In a prepared statement, the Rev. J. Joseph Ford, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, said, "We are deeply disturbed by the charges against Father Raymond Lauzon."

Ford, who serves as administrative assistant to Bishop Edward C. O'Leary of Portland, said the diocese "is offering every possible assistance to father in the judicial process.

"It is clear in our judicial process that an indictment is not an establishment of guilt," he added. "It remains for a jury to fully review any evidence."

Lauzon, who operated a church-run thrift shop, was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a witness. In July 1984, when Lauzon learned he was under investigation, he tried to convince a police informant to change his story to police, the indictment charged.

Lauzon until last month operated the St. Joseph the Provider thrift shop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. But last spring he informed diocese officials that the store was not fulfilling its purpose to help the poor.

"I started this thrift shop to help the under-privileged, the sub-culture," he said. "But they never wanted it. They'd get a little money and spend it all at Jordan Marsh of Porteous (two area department stores). They never shopped at the Provider."

Those who shopped at the store were "dealers and middle-class people," he said. "But even with them, you can't keep up an operation like this."

Lauzon said in the interview he accepted an offer to join the Franciscan order and had plans to move to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to help raise money to establish a foster home for boys.

 
 

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