Friar Guilty of Molesting Altar Boys 30 Years Ago

By Robin Washington
Boston Herald
May 27, 2004

A Catholic brother who once served around the world will now serve eight years at MCI Cedar Junction after pleading guilty Tuesday to molesting altar boys three decades ago at an East Boston parish now slated for closure.

Brother Fidelis DeBerardinis, 76, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing eight boys at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish from 1968 to 1973 after a judge last week deemed him competent to stand trial, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

"We were able to bring these charges because DeBerardinis had been living outside Massachusetts since 1973 and the statute of limitations tolled (froze)," Conley said of the Franciscan friar's assignments in Honduras, Guatemala, Trinidad, Israel and New York, before his retirement in Canada and Florida.

"Our hope is that this result brings some comfort to the victims and that they can continue their healing process," Conley said.

At the time of DeBerardinis' arrest while visiting his sister in Lowell two years ago, the Rev. Robert Capagna, who headed the order, apologized "to anyone who might have been harmed in any way by a member of our province, especially those who may have been hurt by Brother Fidelis."

DeBerardinis was also sentenced to 10 years probation after his release and ordered to register as a sex offender.

His guilty plea came the same day Mount Carmel parishioners learned their church was among 60 slated to close.


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