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  Suspended Priest Faces New Rape Charge
Alleged Victim Adds to Accusations by Tewksbury Woman, Others

By Robert Mills
Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA)
July 25, 2002

WORCESTER When the Rev. Robert E. Kelley was arraigned on counts of child rape earlier this year, Diane Gallian was watching.

When Kelley was arraigned yesterday on an additional count, Diane Gallian was the victim he stood accused of raping.

Kelley, 60, of Worcester, is accused of raping a then 9-year-old Gallian at St. Cecilia's parish in Leominster about 1980, according to a statement from District Attorney John J. Conte.

Kelley, who has already served state prison time in connection with a 1990 conviction for raping a girl in Gardner, was also arraigned in June on five other counts of unnatural rape of a child in connection with accusations he repeatedly raped Heather Mackey, now 26, of Tewksbury.

Kelley is accused of raping Mackey at St. Cecilia's when she was between 4 and 9 years old.

Though a Superior Court judge released Kelley on personal recognizance following his arraignment on the first five counts of child rape, Judge Leina R. Kern ordered him held on $10,000 cash bail after his arraignment yesterday.

Kelley posted his bond immediately.

His attorney, Anthony M. Salerno, of Worcester, said Kelley denies the charges against him and plans to fight them.

Kern also accepted a request from Assistant District Attorney Kathleen M. DelloStritto that pretrial probation conditions made on Kelley after his previous arraignment be tightened to include an order he have no contact with children under 16 years old. Kelley had previously been ordered to have no unsupervised contact with children.

Gallian said after the hearings that it is "upsetting that he could be walking the streets," but noted that Kelley at least had to post bail in connection with new charges.

She said she came forward as a victim through an e-mail address set up by other abuse victims in Worcester County, and that she had been in the courtroom when Kelley was arraigned on charges connected to his alleged abuse of Mackey.

"It was tough seeing him," Gallian said, "but I know he'll eventually go where he needs to go."

Gallian had already identified herself as an alleged victim of Kelley when she joined Mackey, Cormier, Debbie A. Doucet of Leominster, and Denise Hanrahan of Idaho in a civil lawsuit against the Diocese of Worcester, a former priest and priest from St. Cecilia's, where the abuse occurred.

Kelley has not been defrocked, but has been suspended from all priestly duties since 1986. He served at Notre Dame in Southbridge from 1968 to 1974; at St. Boniface in Lunenburg from 1974 to 1976; at St. Cecilia's in Leominster from 1976 to 1983; and at Sacred Heart in Gardner from 1983 to 1985.

 
 

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