Diocese Not Aware of Frobas' Problem

By Richard Nangle
Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
March 12, 2002

A Catholic Diocese of Worcester spokesman said the diocese was not aware that the Rev. Victor A. Frobas was being treated for pedophilia when he was staying at the former House of Affirmation in Whitinsville in the late 1970s.

The late Rev. Frobas, who was assigned to St. Rose of Lima parish in Northboro while undergoing treatment at the Whitinsville facility, was the defendant in 1994 lawsuits filed by Robert Malo, then of Grafton, and Barry W. Houle of Northboro. Rev. Frobas died in 1993.

Mr. Malo is currently serving a sentence at the Worcester County House of Correction in West Boylston for sexually abusing one of his children.

In an article in the Sunday Telegram, Mr. Malo's wife, Kim, criticized Catholic Diocese of Worcester officials for allowing a priest accused of pedophilia to be near children.

Rev. Frobas had been put in charge of organizing altar boys. Mr. Malo, then an 11-year-old altar boy, accused Rev. Frobas of oral and anal rape.

Diocesan spokesman Raymond L. Delisle said yesterday that the approval for Rev. Frobas' assignment would have to have come from his counselor or his home diocese. He was a priest assigned to the diocese in Wheeling, W.Va., at the time.

Mr. Malo and Mr. Houle sued the Worcester diocese, alleging they were assaulted by Rev. Frobas when they were boys and members of St. Rose of Lima parish.

They also alleged that the late Bishop Timothy J. Harrington, who was auxiliary bishop at the time, had been told of abuse in one of the cases and did not act to remove the priest from contact with children.

Records show Rev. Frobas served as a priest in West Virginia, Missouri and Washington after leaving Northboro. He eventually spent two years in the Missouri State Prison on sexual assault convictions.

"With child abuse occurring in the general public as reported in the Telegram & Gazette at a rate almost twice that of clergy, Catholic or non-Catholic, we are faced with a real problem as a society both in how we deal with abusers, potential abusers and those who have been abused," Mr. Delisle said.

Mr. Delisle said the diocese will continue to work with professionals in related fields in an effort to prevent sexual abuse of children and assist those who come forward with past allegations.


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