Patriot Ledger [Quincy MA]
November 15, 2021
By Wheeler Cowperthwaite
Two lawsuits filed this month alleging sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, one of whom was based in Milton, were settled on Friday for undisclosed sums.
Lawyer Mitchell Garabedian said the lawsuits each settled in the “high five figures.”
One of the lawsuits was filed against the Boston archdiocese and the Missionary Society of St. Columban in Milton, which hosted Irish priest Brian Gallagher, who died in 2014. The lawsuit also named the Rev. John K. Connell, who died in 2007.
The second lawsuit named Hingham and Braintree priest Patrick J. Tague, who died in 2013.
The man who accused Gallagher and Connell said in an interview that it brought a little closure. The Patriot Ledger does not name victims of sexual abuse unless they ask to be named.
“There are a lot of people who didn’t say anything,” he said. “To me, that’s like, there’s a lot of people who lived their whole lives, and some who passed on, and never opened their mouths about it.”
The accuser said he decided to come forward as more people have reported sexual abuse in the media industry and politics in recent years.
“There are a lot of people in positions of power who are abusing it, and I’ve been reading about it, seeing it, for quite a while,” he said. “It makes you mistrust everybody, really.”
Documentaries about Bill Cosby and Jeffrey Epstein, the #MeToo movement and the rape allegations made by actor Corey Feldman brought what had been gnawing at him for most of his life to the forefront, he said.
Garabedian wrote in the lawsuit complaint that between 1977 and 1978, Gallagher was assigned to the Missionary Society of St. Columban in Milton. The accuser said he met Gallagher at the house of a friend in Dorchester.
The accuser said that when he was 5 and 6 years old, Gallagher molested him at the friend’s house as well as at a Dorchester nursing home where Gallagher worked. He said Connell molested him at St. Mark’s Church in Dorchester.
The accuser said he never saw Gallagher and Connell together, even though both worked in Dorchester. He said he made the abuse stop by making sure he was never alone in the same room with either priest.
Older children had joked about Connell abusing children, but the accuser said he did not take the jokes seriously at the time.
Garabedian said in an interview that Cardinal Sean O’Malley and the other leaders of the Catholic Church need to put in place programs to protect children and the lawsuit is a further example that church supervisors and leaders were more concerned about the church’s image than stopping abuse.
Connell was accused in a 2002 lawsuit of abusing a 12-year-old boy during a trip to Florida in the 1970s, as well as in Plymouth. He retired in 2001, was laicized in 2005 and died in 2007, according to BishopAccountability.org, a website that tracks abusive priests.
Gallagher was the subject of two lawsuits in 2017 and 2018, filed by brothers who said they were abused by him while he was stationed with St. Columban in Milton and working at St. Mark’s Parish in Dorchester.
Both cases settled in 2020. Lawyer Joseph Wadland, who filed the two lawsuits, said in an interview that the settlement was confidential.
Wadland said in court documents that Gallagher was ordained in 1952 in Ireland and in 1953 he was assigned to Japan before being sent to Milton in 1973. He was transferred because of abuse allegations in Japan.
The Rev. Paul Shanley was then assigned, with Gallagher’s permission, to St. Columban’s Milton residence, where he established the Exodus Center, a retreat for “troubled homosexuals,” and where Shanley abused minors, Wadland said in court documents.
Shanley gave Gallagher access to St. Mark’s Parish in Dorchester, where Shanley was based, Wadland said in court documents. Shanley was convicted of abusing a 17-year-old boy in California and sentenced in 2005 to 12 to 15 years. He died in 2020.
Lawsuit over former South Shore priest at Somerville parish
The second lawsuit filed this month that Garabedian settled involved a different man. Garabedian wrote that the accuser, known as John Doe VII, was sexually abused by the Rev. Patrick Tague.
Tague allegedly abused him when he was 7, in 1965, and went to St. Benedict’s Parish in Somerville.
FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE:View Patrick Tague’s assignment history
Tague served in churches in Braintree, Hingham and Bridgewater in the 1960s.
Other allegations of abuse against Tague included those made by a 16-year-old inmate at a Department of Youth Services halfway house in Roslindale in 1971, according to The Patriot Ledger archives. He was convicted of stealing $30,000 from the halfway house in 1979.
In an email, Boston archdiocese spokesman Terence Donilon said he had no comment on the lawsuits. The Missionary Society of St. Columban did not respond to requests for comment.