Church settles sex abuse cases for $1.4M

Lawrence Eagle-Tribune

August 26, 2020

By Breanna Edelstein

Case involves 10 women, 1 man who attended St. Mary’s School in Lawrence

The Catholic church has agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse against 11 children who attended St. Mary’s School in Lawrence, according to the victims’ joint attorney, Mitchell Garabedian.

Garabedian, who is well known for representing victims of clergy sexual abuse, said the clients in this case were all victims of the Rev. John J. Gallagher between 1974 and 1978, when Gallagher was assigned to St. Mary’s Church and taught at the parish school.

The victims at the time — both female and male — ranged from 8 to 14 years old, Garabedian said.

According to Gallagher’s obituary, he died in 2006 at age 87. He was assigned to schools in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, as well as locally at Merrimack College in 1969 and 1970 and St. Mary’s from 1972 to 1979.

This case against him involves 10 women and one man — now between 54 and 58 years old — who say they were abused by Gallagher in the gym and cafeteria at St. Mary’s School, the swimming pool of the Lawrence Reform School and the Lawrence YMCA.

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