Newly Released Documents Name More Abusive Priests
By Franci Richardson, Robin Washington, Marie Szaniszlo and Tom Mashberg
December 18, 2002
In church files released yesterday, the Rev. Joseph Coleman admitted molesting two boys at Mattapan's St. Angela's parish during the early 1980s when he was suffering from an alcohol problem.
In an interview with the Herald, he said he still feels remorse over his actions 20 years later.
"I had a drinking problem at that time and I was not in full control," Coleman said from his Melrose home. "I've never excused it, never denied it - I've only tried to understand it, but that doesn't in any way exculpate me."
In the file, an intoxicated Coleman is described as inappropriately touching and performing a sexual act on a sleeping 14-year-old.
"Until this was reported (Coleman) never knew that (the victim) was aware that this had happened," states the file, which details similar actions with another boy.
Coleman, who began molesting not long after his 1981 ordination, was treated at Hartford's Institute of Living, where he was reportedly suicidal and suffering from "great guilt," according to medical notes.
After his release, he served as a chaplain at Brighton's St. John of God Hospital and hospice before being assigned to St. Joseph Nursing Care Center in Dorchester.
Last year, he was placed on health leave.
"I've been dealing with this for years, but I can't imagine how difficult it is for victims to deal with it for years, especially without the assistance of professional help," he said. "My hope is that (the release of documents) is part of an ongoing process of healing and restoration for victims."
Among other files were:
- The Rev. Gerard E. Creighton, now 72 and apparently retired to Florida, is listed as having been assigned to 19 parishes in 27 years amid allegations he physically and emotionally abused parishioners, drank excessively, had sexual affairs with married women and carried an unlicensed firearm.
Citing Creighton, attorneys Roderick MacLeish Jr. and Jeffrey A. Newman urged the church to notify child protection agencies about problem priests who have moved into their jurisdictions.
- The Rev. Andrez Sujka returned to his native Poland last year after allegations emerged he sexually abused a boy in the late 1980s, records show.
"I was never raped, but I was definitely used for his sexual satisfaction," a parishioner of South Boston's Our Lady of Czestochowa wrote to the archdiocese in September 2001.
The accuser, who was 12 when the alleged abused began, said in June 2001 he confronted Sujka, who did not deny the acts but asked him to keep them secret.
Sujka, who was ordained in 1975, resigned the day after archdiocese officials received the letter.
- The former Rev. Thomas D. Donnelly is the object of an ongoing civil suit where a Weymouth parishioner accuses him of molesting her when she was between the ages of 5 and 9 years old.
"He would take advantage of her while she was sleeping," read a 2001 internal church memo.
But Donnelly, who left the priesthood 21 years ago for reasons he wouldn't say, yesterday denied the allegations when reached at his employer, a Quincy travel agency.
"It's totally, absolutely false," said Donnelly, who has been forced to pay for his own attorney. "I've taken a lie detector about it and passed it with flying colors. She's sick. Nothing ever happened, absolutely nothing."
The now 33-year-old woman filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court after years of therapy, in which she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
- The Rev. Kelvin Iguabita, 33, was arrested in January on charges he raped a 15-year-old girl in 2001. Three months later, he faced charges of sexually assaulting an adult woman while a deacon at Rockport's St. Joachim Church in the late 1990s.
Ordained in 1999, Iguabita had only one assignment as a priest, to Haverhill's All Saints parish, followed by an appointment by Msgr. Michael Smith Foster to the Metropolitan Tribunal office, before being placed on sick leave in 2001.
Iguabita is free on $ 15,000 cash bail while awaiting trial.
- In November 2000, the Rev C. Melvin Surette of Peabody resisted orders from the archdiocese that he resign from the board of Matignon High School in Cambridge.
Surette had been told in 1995 to have no ministry involving youth.
After a series of letters, Surette told the church he would resign. In 1994, Surette had admitted to inappropriate conduct with minors.
- The Rev. James J. Foley Jr., 50, was assigned to St. Ann's in Dorchester in 1978 and left for Holy Name in West Roxbury in 1981, where he allegedly fondled a boy under the guise of measuring him for bodybuilding training.
But the priest denied the allegation, saying he measured the boy's body parts but not his genitals.
"I am only guilty of gross stupidity and indiscretion," he said.
Foley, who also served in Scituate, Beverly and New Mexico, was treated at Ontario's Southdown Institute. He was placed on health leave in 1999.
He was banned a year later from ministering to minors, a decision he threatened to appeal to the Vatican.
- The Rev. Benjamin McMahon Jr., 60, was alleged to have raped three young brothers while he was associate pastor at Immaculate Conception in Marlboro for a decade until 1983.
"(The family) felt particularly devastated because Ben was a close friend," said the Rev. Walter Cuenin of Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton in reporting the allegations in 1991. McMahon has been on leave since 1986.
- The Rev. Anthony Buchette was accused of molesting two teenage brothers after using trophies to lure them to his room at St. Hugh's in Roxbury in the late 1970s, according to records.
Buchette allegedly would show his tan line, partially exposing his genitals, to one boy, and he engaged in more blatant contact with his brother.
Buchette denied the allegations.
"I do not recall the boy. I would never force myself on anyone young or old," Buchette responded to church investigators.
Files were also released on the Revs. Paul Finnegan, Joseph Gilpin, Paul Hurley, Dennis Keefe and John Turnbull.
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