Removal of Priest Is Pursued
Parents Hire Lawyer in Inzerillo Matter
By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
March 18, 2002
A group of parents from St. Leo's Church has retained a Houston, Texas, lawyer to help them remove the Rev. Peter J. Inzerillo from the parish.
Daniel J. Shea, licensed to practice law in Texas and Massachusetts, said he will represent the parents for $1.
The parents plan to meet at 3 p.m. tomorrow at St. Leo's rectory with officials of the diocesan school department. The parish operates an elementary school.
"The parents will issue an ultimatum to the diocese. He will be gone or there will be consequences," Mr. Shea said. He said several parents are involved in the group.
"The days of pay, pray and obey are over," he said. The parents are taking it upon themselves to study the issue of whether Rev. Inzerillo should remain in their parish," he said.
Rev. Inzerillo was named in a civil lawsuit as someone who allegedly sexually molested Edward Gagne when Mr. Gagne was 19.
Mr. Shea said the parents were misled by the Rev. John E. Doran, pastor of St. Leo's, who allegedly told them the diocese never paid a settlement involving Rev. Inzerillo. Mr. Gagne released a copy of the settlement agreement to the parents that showed that although there was no admission of civil or criminal liability, the diocese paid $150,000 to Mr. Gagne, while Travelers Insurance paid another $150,000 as settlement.
Mr. Gagne's civil suit also named the Rev. Brendan O'Donoghue, who had allegedly abused him when he was younger.
Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, in an interview Saturday, said Rev. Inzerillo's situation is different from that of the Rev. John Bagley and the Rev. Lee F. Bartlett, who have been removed quickly from their posts. He said the complaint against Rev. Inzerillo was withdrawn.
"It was never proven," he said. "I see this as something different, but I am keeping an eye on the situation."
Mr. Shea said the parents also intend to discuss with Charles E. McManus, diocesan school superintendent, an incident in which Rev. Inzerillo invited a group of youngsters from the parish on a trip and allegedly gave what Mr. Shea called an inappropriate sex talk.
They claim Rev. Inzerillo, who had been on leave about six years while the suit by Mr. Gagne was being settled, did this once he was returned to parish work.
"That was sheer stupidity on his part," Mr. Shea said.
Mr. Shea, who has family in the Worcester area, grew up in St. Michael's parish in Providence, the home parish of Bishop Reilly. He was a seminarian for the Providence diocese, obtained a pontifical doctorate in theology from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and was ordained a deacon, but did not proceed to ordination to the priesthood. He later became a lawyer.
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