Franciscan Brother Ordered to Stay in Massachusetts

Associated Press State & Local Wire
August 22, 2002

A member of a Roman Catholic religious order charged with sexually abusing four altar boys three decades ago was ordered Thursday to stay in Massachusetts and turn over his passport while his case is pending.

Franciscan Brother Fidelis DeBerardinis, 75, who now lives in Clearwater Beach, Fla., was arrested at a relative's home in Lowell last week and charged with abusing four altar boys at an East Boston church in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

DeBerardinis pleaded innocent to two counts of rape and abuse of a child, four counts of assault of a child with intent to rape, and five counts of indecent assault and battery on a person under age 14.

Prosecutors allege that DeBerardinis raped, attempted to rape, or fondled the boys, ages 8 to 13, inside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and in the church's rectory on various occasions between 1968 and 1973.

The Franciscan order posted his $10,000 cash bail last week.

Clerk magistrate Gary Wilson ordered him Thursday to surrender his passport and to stay in Massachusetts while the case is pending during a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court. DeBerardinis will stay at a group home for retired Franciscans on Cape Cod.

Wilson also ordered him to have no unsupervised contact with children under 16.

Despite the age of the allegations, prosecutors were able to charge DeBerardinis because the 15-year statute of limitations stops running when the suspect lives out of state. DeBerardinis left Massachusetts in 1973.

DeBerardinis is not a priest and was never under the supervision of the Boston Archdiocese, but was assigned to the Boston church under the supervision of the Franciscan order.

He is scheduled back in court on Oct. 8 for a pretrial hearing.

Franciscan brother ordered to stay in Massachusetts


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