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  Four Men Allege Sex Abuse at Camp Fatima. Nine New Lawsuits Charge Six Priests with Sex Abuse. Judge: Release Records

Union Leader (Manchester NH)
May 29, 2002

Four former campers at a Catholic boys summer camp in the Lakes Region said they were sexually abused there during the 1970s, one allegedly by the camp's former long-time director, their attorney said last week.

"It was obviously a potential haven for anyone who was a pedophile," Manchester attorney Peter E. Hutchins said of Camp Fatima, situated mostly in Barnstead and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

Three alleged victims claim they were assaulted by Brother Guy Beaulieu, a math teacher at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua who also was on Camp Fatima's staff in the 1970s, according to Hutchins and a diocesan spokesman.

The fourth said the late Rev. Karl E. Dowd, who was director of diocesan camps from 1968 to 1990, tried to rape him inside the camp's chapel when he was about 9 years old, Hutchins said.

Dowd's alleged victim, a 39-year-old Manchester man, said the priest asked him to serve Mass during his first and only visit to the camp in the early 1970s, Hutchins said.

"Father Dowd told him he had to take all his clothes off" before donning the cassock and surplice, he continued.

"The kid didn't know any better. He had never been an altar boy before," Hutchins explained.

Dowd allegedly tried to digitally rape the boy, stopping when someone knocked on the chapel door, Hutchins said.

The alleged victim, whose name has not been released, identified Dowd from a group photo taken at the camp and has joined a class action suit Hutchins has filed against the diocese, Hutchins said.

Two other alleged victims also have joined that suit, claiming Beaulieu assaulted them at the camp in the 1970s, Hutchins said.

In addition, Kevin Dandley, 42, of Hudson, this month filed a separate civil suit against Beaulieu and Bishop Guertin High School.

Dandley alleges Beaulieu first began abusing him in 1973 at Camp Fatima and continued that fall when he began his freshman year at Bishop Guertin, the suit says.

Beaulieu allegedly enticed Dandley to his cabin after curfew with promises of watching television, and assaulted him there, Hutchins said.

Dowd, who was ordained in 1960 and retired from active ministry in 2000, was pastor of parishes in Nashua and Salem and also assisted at Manchester and Rollinsford churches.

The 67-year-old priest died while vacationing in Fort Pierce, Fla., on Feb. 18, three days after the diocese released the names of 14 priests accused of past sexual abuse.

Dowd's name was not on that list.

Diocesan spokesman Patrick McGee told The Union Leader last Thursday that the diocese had no complaints against Dowd.

But the diocese acknowledged over the weekend that it had received an allegation of sexual misconduct against Dowd in February. The alleged abuse involved a 16-year-old male and occurred in 1971 when Dowd was a priest at St. Bernard Church in Keene.

McGee yesterday said he was unaware of the allegation at the time.

He said there have been no allegations of sexual misconduct against Dowd or any other priest at Camp Fatima.

The state Attorney General's Office has received 50 reports of clerical sexual misconduct since February, Senior Assistant Attorney General E. William Delker said last week. Of these, "a few" involved alleged abuse at Camp Fatima and have been forwarded to the Belknap County Attorney's Office, he said.

Belknap County Attorney Lauren J. Noether would not comment on any cases her office is investigating.

Hutchins said his clients also recall being told to strip and go skinny dipping in Camp Fatima's lake, sometimes at night with car headlights trained on them.

"They all felt uncomfortable," he added.

Manchester attorney Mark A. Abramson last week said one of his clients also recalls arriving at the camp when he was about 12 years old in the 1970s and immediately being told to go swimming naked.

"There was a large number of brothers and there were priests who would all stand there and have all the boys strip," Abramson said.

But McGee yesterday said Dowd and the camp's chaplain were the only priests there during the regular camping season.

Beaulieu, who belongs to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart religious order, was a staff member who worked "on the financial end" during the 1970s, he added.

Beaulieu had a cabin on camp grounds, McGee said. There "was a cabin available" for Dowd as camp director, though "he wasn't living there on a regular basis," he added.

Abramson said he also has received about 10 anonymous calls from men who claim they either were sexually assaulted at Camp Fatima or know someone who was.

While callers provided him information, none were willing to go forward with civil suits, he said.

Some said they have "high-profile jobs" and are fearful going public would hurt their careers or families, he said.

Abramson said he has turned the information over to criminal investigators.

Nine new lawsuits charge six priests with sex abuse.

By NANCY MEERSMAN Union Leader Staff

New lawsuits filed yesterday against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Manchester allege nine different individuals suffered sexual abuse as children at the hands of six New Hampshire priests.

One of the litigants, Paul Downey of Manchester, alleges the Rev. Donald Osgood sexually manipulated him while taking his confession as Downey, then about 13 years old, lay in his hospital bed, shaved for surgery and about to be wheeled to the operating room to have his appendix removed, according to his lawyer.

Manchester trial attorney Mark Abramson said Osgood, whose living quarters were in the basement of the former Sacred Heart Hospital and who ran a boys' choir, cleared the room and closed the door to be alone with Downey during the alleged encounter in 1960.

"During the confession, Osgood kept asking him about impure thoughts and whether he ever masturbated or had any sexual experiences," Abramson said. "The kid didn't want to admit to having impure thoughts, which every little boy that age does, and so he had to lie during confession."

This is the first time Osgood's name has come up in connection with lawsuits against the church.

A second litigant, David Beaulieu of Manchester, also accuses Osgood of molesting him in one of the suits filed yesterday.

Osgood's name was not on the list Bishop John B. McCormack disclosed Feb. 15 of 14 priests against whom credible complaints of sexual abuse had been made. Abramson said his clients have been told Osgood is deceased, but there is a possibility he is still alive.

Patrick McGee, spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester, said the diocese knows little about Osgood, other than he "abandoned his ministry" many years ago and no one has heard from him since.

He said the diocese hasn't seen the latest lawsuits, and could not comment on the details if it had.

The church, he said, has a continuing concern for any victims of abuse and "stands ready to help them any way we can."

The two civil complaints against Osgood alleged he was abusing boys in the late 1950s through 1960.

After a single alleged assault against him, Beaulieu was spreading the word that Osgood was sexually abusing boys, Abramson said, and Osgood found out about it and accosted Beaulieu in a hallway.

The priest, he said, "grabbed Beaulieu and twisted his arm and told him he'd better keep his mouth shut or Osgood would kill him."

The Manchester lawyer said youngsters referred to the Rev. Osgood as "Ozzie" and "No Good" or "Was Good," and Abramson said he expects the "full service abusive priest," will turn out to be one of the most prolific abusers.

Abramson said the nine new lawsuits, brought in Hillsborough County Superior Court yesterday, bring to 33 the number of sexual abuse cases he has filed in recent weeks accusing the Catholic church of complicity in the abuse for allegedly knowing children were being harmed and ignoring it.

He predicts the number will climb. "There are probably more on the way," he said.

The following priests are accused in lawsuits filed yesterday:

Francis Lamothe. An unnamed plaintiff from Nashua alleges he was abused by Lamothe in 1959 and 1960 at St. Mary's in Claremont. (The Union Leader has not been publishing the names of priests being sued by unidentified accusers. However, Lamothe has also been accused by plaintiffs whose identities are on the record.)

Mark Castonguay of Greenville alleges in his lawsuit filed yesterday that he was molested by Lamothe in the Sacred Heart parish in Greenville from 1963 to 1970. Abramson said Castonguay was abused "on a weekly basis over a number of years" upwards of a hundred times in the rectory, the church and Lamothe's vehicle. Abramson said Lamothe would tell the boy, "Never touch a girl because girls are dirty."

Francis Talbot, whose ministry was revoked Feb. 15 by the bishop. He is accused in a lawsuit by a John Doe of Concord who says he was molested at the State Industrial School (now the Youth Development Center) in Manchester in 1964 and 1965.

Robert Plourde of Manchester alleges he, too, was a victim of Talbot at the State Industrial School in 1963 and 1964.

The Rev. Raymond Laferriere, who was listed as "retired" on the bishop's list of priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct. The plaintiff in this case, Albert Boulanger of Goffstown, says the abuse occurred in 1957 and 1958 in St. Augustine parish.

A priest whose name is being withheld because the plaintiff is not identified is accused of molesting a boy in Berlin in 1959. The priest died in 1980, according to the diocese.

The Rev. Joseph Maguire. An unnamed Somersworth man is accusing Maguire of molesting him in 1973 while Maguire was assigned to Holy Trinity Church in Somersworth.

Dover police recently reported that they investigated Maguire in 1986. He was never prosecuted but confessed to molesting four boys in the 1970s. His ministry, too, was revoked by the bishop and he is reported to be now residing in Hyannis, Mass.

Abramson said he doesn't know if his client is one of the boys Maguire admitted abusing. "We don't know because in the police report on these, names are blacked out," he said.

Abramson said the boy was molested "many times" by Maguire, on some occasions in the bathroom of the church rectory, where the priest would have the boy pull down his pants. Abramson said the boy would stare out the bathroom window while the priest would fondle him and masturbate on the child.

He said the priest would wear street clothes during the abuse but had his priestly stole draped over his shoulders. The stole is worn by priests performing Mass and other sacraments as a reminder of Christ's yoke and the priest's heavy burden. When donning the stole, a priest prays that the Lord will restore him to the immortality lost by original sin.

Abramson said the alleged assaults have left the victim emotionally vulnerable to this day and, "He can't talk about it now without crying."

 
 

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