Fall River Priest Abuse Survivor Asks for Compensation

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 [Fairhaven MA]

December 14, 2021

One alleged survivor of child abuse by a Fall River priest is asking for financial compensation from the diocese after he said Catholic leaders ignored his claims for ten years.

On Monday, the Fall River Diocese announced that three priests have been added to the list of those “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors.

Fathers James Buckley, Edward Byington, and Richard Degagne have been suspended from all church activities. Two of the men were already retired.

Richard Eldridge said Byington abused him after a Catholic retreat when he was 16 years old.

He said that Byington made him confess his sins — despite not being a Catholic — and then brought him to a convent, where he said the nuns tried unsuccessfully to stop the priest from bringing the teenager upstairs

But according to Eldridge, his story wasn’t deemed “credible” by the diocese until years later, when another victim came forward anonymously.

As for yesterday’s announcement, he said, “I was thrilled,” calling it “a real relief.”

“I don’t want any other kids to end up in this situation, and have to go through what I’ve already gone through,” he said.