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  Man Accuses Teacher-Priest of Molestation - Fitchburg House Was Hangout

By Kathleen Shaw
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
March 27, 2002

New England — Jim Kane, 34, of Derry, N.H., said yesterday he was sexually molested by the Rev. Robert A. Shauris when he was a student at St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg.

Rev. Shauris, who has been on leave from the Diocese of Worcester for several years, was a music teacher at the school. He lives in Worcester where he is listed on the faculty roster of Curry College's Worcester campus."They need to be held accountable,'' Mr. Kane said, meaning clergy who abuse young people. Mr. Kane said he had an obligation to come forward because he believes there are other abuse victims and because Rev. Shauris may still have access to young people.

"I really have nothing to say,'' Rev. Shauris said yesterday in response to the allegation.

Raymond L. Delisle, spokesman for the diocese, said Rev. Shauris was placed on leave in 1991 so he could take an assignment at Anna Maria College, Paxton. "He has been on administrative leave since that time,'' Mr. Delisle said.

"Consistent with the bishop's announcement earlier this month, we will cooperate fully with the district attorney's investigation of this allegation. While that investigation is occurring, we ask prayers and support for the person making the allegation and his family and for all of our diocesan family during these difficult times,'' Mr. Delisle said.

Mr. Kane said he has attempted to contact the office of District Attorney John J. Conte, but is still waiting for a call back. He said he will file a report on the incidents with Mr. Conte's office. He has also contacted representatives of the Survivors Network Against Priest Abuse, also known as SNAP, a self-help group for men and women who have been abused by priests.

Mr. Kane alleges the incidents occurred at a residence used by several priests at a location off South Street in Fitchburg. Rev. Shauris was partial to providing him with mixed drinks called Black Russians. "I can't drink those even today,'' he said. He was also shown pornographic films in Rev. Shauris' residence, he said. The sexual abuse involved fondling and other sexual acts, he said.

Rev. Shauris also had a hobby of trying to hypnotize people, he said. "He tried it on me, but I kept telling him I could not be hypnotized, and I wasn't,'' Mr. Kane said.

Mr. Kane said he was introduced to Rev. Shauris at a tumultuous time in his teen-age years by another school friend. "Let's just say I was pretty vulnerable at the time,'' he said. The sexual misconduct occurred when he was 14 and 15 years old, from 1983 to 1985, he said.

"I believe there are more men out there who have not come forward,'' he said. Mr. Kane said he observed a number of teen-age boys at the residence, which had become a kind of hangout for boys. He knew other priests lived there, but he did not know who they were. He said he was told that it was not uncommon for young men to be in the residence with priests.

Mr. Kane, who is now married and has his own manufacturers' representative business in New Hampshire, said he was a regular visitor to Rev. Shauris' quarters, although each visit did not include sexual molestation.

Rev. Shauris was named along with a group of priests in a confidential settlement agreement of a 1993 lawsuit brought by Mark D. Barry, who accused the Rev. Thomas A. Kane (no relation to Jim Kane) of molesting him for several years, beginning when he was 9.

The confidential agreement, obtained recently by the Telegram & Gazette, absolved Rev. Shauris, the Rev. Thomas Teczar, who is the subject of other legal action involving sexual misconduct with a minor, and Monsignor Brendon Riordon of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., from future liability.

Rev. Kane, former director of the House of Affirmation in Whitinvsille, recently surfaced as head of a teacher training institute in Mexico. Delisle, spokesman for the diocese, said those names were included because they came up during the discovery process of the lawsuit and no guilt was implied in their names being in the settlement.

Rev. Shauris, a Worcester native, studied for the priesthood at St. John's Seminary, Brighton, and was ordained in 1974 by Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan at Our Lady of Czechochowa Church, Worcester. He was then assigned to St. Mary parish, Uxbridge, where he served until being appointed to the faculty of St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School, Fitchburg, in 1978. He served there until moving to the faculty of St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic High School, Worcester, in 1990. He was appointed to the Anna Maria College faculty in 1991.

Kathleen A. Shaw can be reached via e-mail at kshaw@telegram.com.

 
 

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