Retired Priest Facing Lawsuit
Former Altar Boy Says He Was Raped

By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
March 21, 2002

WORCESTER - A Spencer man has filed a civil suit alleging he was raped when he was a child by the Rev. Brendan W. O'Donoghue, who is now retired.

The alleged victim, Craig Lacaire, names Rev. O'Donoghue and the Catholic Diocese of Worcester in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Worcester Superior Court.

Mr. Lacaire is represented by Jeffrey A. Newman of Boston and Marblehead.

Mr. Newman is also representing several men who said they were sexually abused by the Rev. Paul Desilets when he was stationed at a parish in Bellingham. That case is being investigated by District Attorney John J. Conte. Bellingham is within the Boston archdiocese, but is in Mr. Conte's jurisdiction.

Mr. Lacaire said yesterday that he served as an altar boy in the 1970s in Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Spencer at the same time Edward L. Gagne was an altar boy there. Mr. Gagne filed a civil suit alleging sexual abuse by Rev. O'Donoghue and the Rev. Peter J. Inzerillo in a case that was settled, with $300,000 going to Mr. Gagne.

Mr. Lacaire, 36, said Rev. O'Donoghue fondled and acted inappropriately toward altar boys, and that some of these acts were witnessed by adults. He described a climate in the church in which Rev. O'Donoghue ran the parish autocratically and no one dared speak up to him.

The altar boys devised certain jokes to cope with a terrifying situation, he said. On one trip to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire, Mr. Lacaire said the boys joked about which one would get caught in "the spook house" with their pastor. Mr. Lacaire was not abused on that trip, but said he was raped sometime in 1977 in the parish rectory.

Mr. Lacaire said he feared telling his parents what had happened, even when it appeared that he was urinating blood later in the day. He dared not confront the pastor, he said. Mr. Lacaire said he was "terrified" of Rev. O'Donoghue.

According to the suit, the incidents occurred between 1976 and 1978. Mr. Lacaire allegedly was sexually assaulted by Rev. O'Donoghue and those acts included anal intercourse and oral sex, according to the suit.


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