Papers Implicate 4 More S. Shore Priests
Xaverian Brother Was Diagnosed As a Pedophile
By Sue Reinert
January 31, 2003
A former priest and teacher at Archbishop Williams High School allegedly molested a student in a Quincy church rectory, newly released church documents say.
Louis Govoni of Marshfield, who has resigned from the priesthood, is accused in a lawsuit of sexually assaulting the teenage boy when Govoni was a religion teacher at Archbishop Williams in Braintree in the early 1970s and lived at St. Joseph's Church in Quincy.
Govoni has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached last night.
State records list Govoni as president of the Living Faith Christian Church Inc. in Hanover, but there is no listing for the church there.
He allegedly molested the student in the rectory of St. Joseph's, in his car and other locations from 1971 to 1974, the suit says.
Another document indicates that the late Cardinal Humberto Medeiros was told in 1977 that teenage boys frequently stayed in Govoni's room at the rectory and another priest found one "partially undressed" boy in a hallway at 2 a.m.
The document gives a grim picture of St. Joseph's at the time, noting that one parish priest was often so drunk that he sometimes could not complete saying Mass and Govoni wouldn't do "any parish work."
The records don't say what church officials did in response to the information.
Govoni's files were among documents on 10 priests and religious brothers released yesterday by lawyers for alleged victims of the Rev. Paul Shanley, who is accused of raping boys in Newton from 1979 to 1989. Nearly a half-dozen people claim they were molested by the Rev. Shanley during the late 1960s while he was a priest at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Braintree.
In November, a Superior Court judge hearing the Rev. Shanley's case ordered documents concerning the church's handling of 65 accused priests be made available to the public. Lawyers for the Rev. Shanley's accusers have been releasing them piecemeal since then, contributing to an ever-widening sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Boston archdiocese for more than a year.
Besides Govoni, two other accused priests, a former priest and a Xaverian brother were named in the documents released yesterday and either lived or served on the South Shore. One of the priests, the Rev. Richard S. Moran, was found blameless by church officials and now serves in Newton.
Other documents alleged that:
Brother John Dagwell, who lived at the former Xaverian
provincial headquarters in Milton, was hired to work at two church-affiliated
shelters in 1989 and 1995 despite his conviction for sexually abusing a minor in
New Jersey and a diagnosis as a pedophile. Xaverian officials didn't disclose
Brother Dagwell's past when recommending him for one of the positions, angering
the head of Catholic Charities, the records show.
Former priest Patrick T. Tague, who served at parishes
in Braintree, Hingham and Bridgewater in the 1960s, allegedly abused a
16-year-old inmate at a Department of Youth Services halfway house in Roslindale
Tague told the Associated Press: "My only comment is it was long ago investigated by the attorney general and I was exonerated."
The state attorney general's office could not immediately confirm the investigation, The Associated Press said.
He was convicted, however, of embezzling $30,000 from the facility in 1976, the Associated Press reported.
The Rev. F. Barry Bossa, based in the New York City
area, allegedly molested two Bridgewater public school students in the 1970s,
before he was ordained. The Rev. Bossa was helping out at St. Thomas Aquinas
Church in Bridgewater.
The Rev. Bossa is "in Europe," said the pastor at the Yonkers, N.Y., church where the priest lived for at least the past 10 years. The pastor would not give his name.
A spokesman for the New York archdiocese said the Rev. Bossa was not allowed to function as a priest after New York church officials learned of allegations against him.
Christopher Phillips, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the alleged abuse occurred when the Bridgewater school system rented space in St. Thomas Aquinas.
Dagwell could not be located yesterday. He was convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor in New Jersey and was on probation when he came to live in Milton, the records show.
In 1989, he was hired at St. Francis House, the Boston shelter. He resigned after some residents complained of "unwelcome hugging and kissing" and other "inappropriate physical contact" and shelter officials learned of his conviction, documents say.
In 1995, Dagwell was hired as head the Crossroads Family Shelter in East Boston, which is run by the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in East Boston and supported by Catholic Charities. Brother Edward Keefe of the Xaverian Brothers had recommended him.
Dagwell lost his job after two months when his former boss at St. Francis House told shelter officials of his past.
The Rev. Robert Hennessey, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer, said yesterday: "All we received was glowing letters. Everything came out of the blue after we hired him. I certainly can't defend the actions of a community if they did know something was amiss and failed to notify us before we hired him."
Catholic Charities head Joseph Doolin complained to the archdiocese about the Xaverian order's "lack of forthcomingness."
The Xaverian provincialate has moved to Danvers. A person who answered the phone yesterday referred questions to the order's Baltimore headquarters, which did not return calls. Another person at the office said Brother Keefe now lives in Africa.
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