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  Retired Msgr. Tancrede Accused

By Nancy Meersman
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
September 6, 2002

The Manchester Diocese recently stripped a retired monsignor of permission to serve Mass and wear the priestly collar after a review board concluded that allegations of sexual abuse made against him were credible.

Msgr. Roland E. Tancrede, who had been filling in performing masses at St. Pius X Church on Candia Road, may no longer function as a priest, a spokesman for the church said yesterday.

The Rev. Edward Arsenault, chancellor for the diocese and pastor of St. Pius, has informed parishioners that a credible allegation had been made against the monsignor and that his ministerial faculties had been revoked, according to Patrick McGee, the church's public relations specialist.

Tancrede is one of the priests named in three new lawsuits filed last week in Hillsborough County Superior Court on behalf of individuals alleging they were sexually abused as children by Roman Catholic priests.

An anonymous plaintiff alleges Tancrede abused him many years ago, from approximately 1956 through 1959, while he was an altar boy at Holy Rosary Church in Rochester.

Mark Abramson, attorney for the individual identified only as John Doe No. 33, said Tancrede admitted to church authorities that the allegations were true. The diocese, however, would not address whether the monsignor admitted to sexual misconduct.

"He abused this boy in multiple ways at the rectory, on trips the priest took him on out of state and to Canada. And, he admitted it," Abramson said.

Tancrede, who could not be reached yesterday, is listed in the diocese's directory as a resident of St. John the Baptist Rectory on Alsace Street. He was ordained in 1947 and is believed to be in his late 70s.

McGee said no other complaints had ever been made against the monsignor. "This was the first we had ever received on him," said McGee.

When the complaint was received earlier this summer Tancrede was placed on administrative leave, and it has since been made permanent, McGee said.

Abramson last week filed lawsuits against the diocese, naming Tancrede and two other priests. The latter are both cited in other sexual abuse cases against the church.

The lawsuits accuse the Diocese of Manchester of negligence for employing priests with "a propensity for engaging in sexual contact with minors."

Abramson has thus far filed 54 sexual abuse lawsuits against the diocese. Additionally, the church faces a potential class action suit with about 50 members, plus a dozen more individual cases, for a total of about 120 individuals seeking damages from the church.

All of the plaintiff's lawyers, including Abramson, Peter Hutchins and Chuck Douglas, have been in negotiations with church lawyers in an effort to reach an overall settlement in the cases. None of the parties will discuss the details.

Abramson said he hopes settlement talks will resolve the cases, but in the event no agreement is possible, he is proceeding as if the cases were going to trial. He said he has hired a law firm that specializes in evaluating real estate and other assets that will try to put a figure on the church's wealth. In the other cases Abramson filed last week, John Doe No. 34 alleges he was sexually assaulted between 1969 and 1970 by the Rev. Leo Landry, who has also been accused by other plaintiffs and whom Abramson characterizes as a "monster."

The abuse allegedly took place when the plaintiff was 13 and 14 and serving as an altar boy at St. Kieran's Church in Berlin.

Landry was a member of an order, the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata, and was assigned to the Manchester Diocese between 1966 and 1971, but was not a diocesan priest. Two other plaintiffs have also named Landry as their abuser. According to the diocese, Landry left church employ in 1972.

In the third case filed last week, former altar boy Ryan Metivier, 16 Coolidge St., West Newfield, Maine, alleges he was abused by the Rev. Joseph Maguire, between the ages of 9 and 15 at St. Joseph's Church in Dover.

Maguire, according to published reports, has admitted to abusing several boys, and he is accused in at least one other lawsuit filed by Abramson. Bishop John B. McCormack named him to a list made public last February of 14 priests no longer allowed to function as priests because of abuse allegations.

Abramson said Maguire, who reportedly lives in Hyannis, Mass., abused his client "well in excess of 100 times, in the rectory, in hotels and on what he called 'pilgrimages.' He abused him everywhere they went, in every way imaginable."

 
 

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