Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — “It was a job,” said attorney Philip McLaughlin, reflecting on his career at the bar in anticipation of closing his practice by the end of the year. “You follow the facts, do your job and be loyal to your client. Just do your job and the rest will take care of itself.”

The son of a Nashua police officer, McLaughlin graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, served four years as a deck officer in the United States Navy and earned his law degree at Boston College in 1974. He explained that he learned not to give orders in the Navy, where seamen were more likely to respect officers who asked rather than commanded. At law school he discovered his academic limits in a class on trusts and estates, when instead of preparing the required estate plan he photocopied a model plan, attributed it to its author and confessed to the puzzled instructor he could not improve on it. …

When allegations of sexual abuse of children by members of the priesthood came to light, he negotiated an agreement by which the Catholic Diocese of Manchester acknowledged its failures and agreed to cooperate with the state. The diocese released 10,000 documents which after a ten month investigation supported a 154-page report. “The state was prepared to prove,” the report read, “that the diocese consciously chose to protect itself and its priests from scandal, lawsuits, and criminal charges, instead of protecting minor parishioners under its care from continual sexual abuse by priests.”

Jim Rosenberg, who with Will Delker, the head of the criminal division, undertook the inquiry, said that McLaughlin was the architect of the approach that eschewed criminal proceedings against the church hierarchy in favor of full disclosure and a commitment to cooperate with law enforcement. Rosenberg said that the outcome was preferable to what could have been expected from criminal proceedings. Noting that McLaughlin assembled a coalition of victim advocates and law enforcement officials, he stressed that “creative remedies were achieved by Phil’s leadership.”

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