Abuse Suspects
Vatican Defrocks Seven Area Priests; Five of Them Had Served on the South Shore

By Sue Reinert
Patriot Ledger
March 18, 2006

Quincy (MA) — The Patriot Ledger The Vatican has defrocked seven priests accused of sexual abuse, including a former vice-chancellor of the Boston Archdiocese and four others who served on the South Shore.

A deacon was also removed from clerical life, the Boston Archdiocese said Friday. All eight were already suspended or had retired. The Vatican decision removes them permanently from public ministry except that the seven priests can give absolution to the dying, the archdiocese said in a press release.

In a written statement, Archbishop Sean O'Malley referred to the Lenten theme of repentance and conversion. "With this Lenten call in mind, this moment provides an opportunity to express to the survivors of clergy sexual abuse and to their families my deepest sorrow for the grievous harm done to them," the archbishop said.

The defrocked priests are: Frederick J. Ryan, a monsignor and the highest-ranking church official accused of sexual abuse. Ryan, former archdiocese vice-chancellor, was removed as pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Kingston in 2002 after a Hanover man said the priest molested him in 1979 at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, when Ryan was chaplain. Ryan also allegedly molested two other boys. When he was accused, Ryan headed the Plymouth Vicarate and supervised 16 parishes south of Boston. Patrick T. Tague, who served at churches in Braintree, Hingham and Bridgewater in the 1960s. Tague allegedly abused a 16-year-old inmate at a Department of Youth Services halfway house in Roslindale in 1971. Boston church officials have not heard from Tague since 1969, a spokeswoman said. Thomas Forry, who served at St. Elizabeth's in Milton and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in North Scituate in the 1960s and 1970s. Forry allegedly physically attacked the rectory housekeeper in Scituate, maintained a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old woman, and molested and beat the woman's young son. He was suspended in 2001. Ernest Tourigney, suspended in 1993 after two cousins from Weymouth and a Holliston man accused him of molesting them when they were youths. Tourigney retired in 2000, archdiocese spokeswoman Kelly Lynch said. Paul J. Finegan, suspended from St. Bernadette Church in Randolph in 2002. Finegan allegedly abused two girls at St. Michael's Church in North Andover sometime before 1980. The others laicized were Anthony Buchette, accused of molesting two brothers at St. Hugh's in Roxbury in the late 1970s; Robert Morrisette, accused of molesting five youths when he served as parochial vicar at Assumption parish in Bellingham; and deacon Joseph Crowley of Dedham. Crowley, a volunteer in the chaplain's office at Children's Hospital, pleaded guilty in 1999 to sexually abusing two family members and was sentenced to three successive 2 1/2-year terms and 10 years probation. Lynch said Buchette retired in 1997 and Morrisette took a medical leave in 1993 followed by a leave of absence.

The Vatican action bars the men from receiving pensions or other church benefits. Lynch could not say which ones, if any, were getting benefits.


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