Man Accuses Priest of Abuse
Blizard Allegedly Assaulted Others
By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
April 5, 2002
WORCESTER - William Allen, who once intended to become a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Worcester, has told the Telegram & Gazette that he was sexually abused by the Rev. David L. Blizard when the priest was assigned to St. Roch parish in Oxford.
Mr. Allen initially talked with T&G reporters in 1993 about the alleged abuse, but then decided he did not want to go public with his story. He described himself in an interview yesterday as a "very naive 18-year-old" when the abuse allegedly occurred.
"After years of discussing this in therapy, I now realize that he used his position of authority as a priest over me," he said of Rev. Blizard. Mr. Allen alleged that Rev. Blizard sexually abused him several times inside St. Roch Church in 1974 and 1975, but added that the abuse did not involve force.
Mr. Allen, now in his 40s, was a student at Assumption College at the time and planned to be ordained as a priest. He said he met Rev. Blizard when the priest came to the campus looking for religious education teachers. Mr. Allen said he was in awe of Rev. Blizard "because he was a priest."
Raymond L. Delisle, spokesman for the Worcester Diocese, said that Rev. Blizard left the diocese in 1988 and has no active assignment. Mr. Delisle and Mr. Allen said they did not know where the priest is living now. Mr. Allen said he also was told by diocesan officials in 1993 that they did not know where the priest was. A T&G reporter's attempts to find Rev. Blizard yesterday also were unsuccessful.
Mr. Allen, a Worcester resident, is now married, has two children and has converted to Episcopalianism.
He said he reported the situation to the "hot line" established by the diocese in the early 1990s.
"I got no help there," he said. "They just wanted to know who I had told and when and whether any other priests knew about it," according to Mr. Allen.
He said that in the early 1990s he began to come to grips with what had happened to him and sought therapy. It was at that time, he said, that he went to talk with a priest who previously had worked with Rev. Blizard.
He described his conversation with that priest as "the most bizarre conversation I have ever had."
Mr. Allen said the priest questioned the use of the word "abuse" in describing the complaints filed against priests by several former altar boys and others who came forward in the early 1990s. The pastor also ridiculed a 37-year-old man who had come to him to report abuse by another priest, Mr. Allen said. He added that the priest told him that the situation described by the 37-year-old man had gone on long enough that he suspected that the man "really liked it."
T&G reporters recently received information from others claiming Rev. Blizard had abused them when they were teen-agers. None was willing to have his name used.
One man said he was abused by Rev. Blizard at age 16 when the priest was assigned to Our Lady Immaculate parish in Athol. Another said he was a student at St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg when he was abused by the priest. A reporter also was told about two brothers who allegedly were abused by Rev. Blizard in Worcester.
Mr. Allen said he learned during his therapy sessions that the counselor also knew of people who allegedly were abused by Rev. Blizard.
Rev. Blizard, a native of Whitinsville, was ordained by Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan in 1974 after studies at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. His first assignment was at St. Roch. He was transferred to Our Lady Immaculate parish in Athol in 1978 and served there until being sent to Christ the King parish in Worcester. He was transferred to Holy Angels parish in Upton in 1982. He left parish work in 1983 to become a religion teacher at St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg. He left the diocese in 1988.
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