Former Catholic priest who served parishes in Fitchburg and Leominster is defrocked by Pope Francis

Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel & Enterprise

January 27, 2018

A former priest who served Catholic Churches in Fitchburg and Leominster in the late 1990s and early 2000s and accused of sexually abusing a teenager in 1993 has been laicized, or defrocked, according to the diocese.

It was announced by diocese Bishop Robert J. McManus that Peter J. Inzerillo had been defrocked on Thursday at his request.

Inzerillo, according to the diocese, was “dispensed” from the clerical state by Pope Francis and as a result he cannot function in any capacity as a priest or be referred to as a priest or as a “Father” in writing in any announcements or obituaries.

“It is my fervent prayer that Christ may bring healing and hope to anyone who has been abused by a priest or by anyone in the Catholic Church,” said Bishop McManus.

Inzerillo, now 74, was vocational director for the diocese until 1994 — beginning in 1983 — when a decade-old allegation made by Spencer man led to the diocese temporarily suspending him from his duties as priest.

The Spencer man, who was 19-years-old at the time, said Inzerillo took advantage of him and abused him in the mid-1990s when he was a 13-year-old altar boy and filed a lawsuit in 1999 that was settled out of court for $300,000.

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