State court rejects priest’s defamation lawsuit

Cape Cod Times


November 29, 2012

FALMOUTH — The state appeals court has upheld a ruling that threw out a defamation lawsuit filed by a former Falmouth priest, agreeing that he brought the lawsuit past the statute of limitations.

The Rev. John P. Harrington, formerly a priest at St. Patrick’s Church on Main Street in Falmouth, filed suit in Norfolk Superior Court against the Rev. John H. Perry — the former pastor of St. Patrick’s — and the Rev. William M. Costello, the former pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish in East Falmouth, in November 2010.

Harrington’s complaint stems back to 2005, when Perry told him that Costello reported that a parishioner had accused Harrington of stalking her minor son, the decision said.

Both Costello and Perry reported this information to religious education directors at St. Patrick’s and St. Anthony’s.

As a result, the decision said, Harrington says he suffered abuse and alienation. He eventually lost his position at St. Patrick’s and was not reassigned to another church.

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