Rev. Kardas Abuse Documents Made Public
Priest Accused of 1970s Molestation
By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
February 26, 2003
WORCESTER - Carol felt grown up.
She had a boyfriend and told her closest friends about him. He told her he loved her, wanted to marry her, and that she was to be the mother of their children.
On her first encounter, she went into the kitchen of her Holden home to pour him a scotch; he came up behind her and gave her a kiss.
On another occasion she joined him for a scotch.
It was in the rectory of St. George Church on Brattle Street. Her "boyfriend" was the Rev. Thaddeus J. Kardas, then in his mid-20s, and she was only 11.
The story of Carol McCormick, who now is married and living in Chelmsford, is told in depositions in a civil suit she settled with the Worcester Catholic Diocese in 1995 for $55,000. The suit was settled without admissions of liability by the diocese or Rev. Kardas, who remains on leave.
According to court documents, Rev. Kardas started going by the girl's Holden home because her father taught Christian education at St. George parish. It was not long before the new priest took an interest in her and gave her the first kiss in the kitchen. "He just surprised me. I turned around and I had my back to the counter and he came over and kissed me and gave me a hug," she said in a deposition taken in the civil suit. She did not respond and he went back to the family room with his drink.
His actions progressed from kissing to touching and caressing her breasts and attempts to touch her genital area, attempts that she rebuffed, she said.
By the summer, she had told her girlfriends. Ms. McCormick recalled they were talking about boys and she mentioned that she had a boyfriend, and it was Rev. Kardas. They didn't believe her but she said he would be coming by soon on his motorcycle. "And he did."
"I thought I was very adult," she said, saying that Rev. Kardas had told her he loved her, wanted to marry her and that they would have children together.
She did not tell her parents what was going on. "Father Ted told me that no one would understand how special our relationship was," adding she thought that Rev. Kardas loved her. "I had an 11-year-old's view of what that meant.
"I thought what Father Ted was doing -- I know I didn't want him to do it but it was the price that I had to pay to have this wonderful, special kind of love," she said.
The alleged acts moved to St. George rectory, with incidents happening in the basement, garage and attic. The sexual abuse ended in the attic at age 12, when he pinned her to the floor and tried to remove her underpants. She said she kneed him and he "stomped off and left (her) there with no way to get home." She walked from Brattle Street in Worcester to her home in Holden.
Vicar for Religious Sister Paula Kelleher took the call from Ms. McCormick in 1993 when she called the sexual abuse hot line to report the abuse by Rev. Kardas. A record of the telephone call is in the paperwork with the suit. The call sheet is marked second complaint because another woman had complained about Rev. Kardas earlier.
Of Ms. McCormick, Sister Kelleher wrote: "Ted Kardas molested her when she was 12 years old while he was stationed at St. George in Holden. There was a lot of touching. He tried to penetrate her but she fought him off. That happened over a period of time." The church actually is in Worcester, not far from Holden.
Rev. Kardas, who was born in 1944, grew up in Palmer and applied for seminary in the mid-1960s. He completed his training and was ordained in 1970 at age 25. St. George was his first assignment.
He served at St. George from 1970 to 1976 when he was moved to Holy Family of Nazareth in Leominster, where he served until 1981. He was moved to St. Peter of Northbridge where he was assigned until 1984, when he was named pastor of St. Edward the Confessor in Westminster.
He was in Westminster when, in March 1993, he was told by Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger and Monsignor Edmond Tinsley that allegations of sexual misconduct had been made. He said he denied the allegations but got another telephone call from the chancery telling him to report to the Institute of Living in Hartford for evaluation. The arrangements were made by the Rev. Rocco Piccolomini, vicar for clergy. Rev. Kardas hired the Rev. Tom Lynch, a canon lawyer.
While undergoing day treatment in Hartford, he stayed at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn., according to his deposition. He recalled that then-Bishop Timothy J. Harrington and Monsignor Tinsley visited him at the institute. The bishop asked him to resign his pastorate in Westminster. He declined and never resigned, he said.
Ms. McCormick said last night that the Worcester diocese needs to open all its records on accused priests "and stop hiding behind the veil of secrecy that has existed." People need to know what happened.
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