Abuse victim speaks out

The Eagle-Tribune [North Andover MA]

January 10, 2023

By Will Broaddus

The priest who sexually abused David Rigby in 1976 said he was giving the young student a medical exam.

“As a naive, 14-year-old boy I didn’t realize that priests with no medical qualifications don’t have the right to give a medical exam to anybody,” Rigby said Monday.

He was speaking on a corner in Andover across from St. Augustine Parish, where he was accompanied by Robert Hoatson of Road to Recovery, a charity that assists victims of sexual abuse.

Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston attorney who represents clergy sex abuse victims, was present on Zoom. He said he earned a low, six-figure settlement a month ago for Rigby’s abuse and that of one other boy at the hands of the priest, Robert Turnbull.

“I have settled more than 15 cases involving Father Turnbull, who was a serial pedophile,” Garabedian said.

Turnbull, who died in 2000, taught math and physics and served as the athletic director at Austin Preparatory School in Reading when he abused Rigby.

Turnbull lived in a dormitory at the school and had no connections to the church in Andover that he knew of, Rigby said, aside from the fact that both institutions are run by the Order of Saint Augustine.

“I wanted to talk here today because Andover is sort of a center of the Augustinians in the northeast,” Rigby said.

Rigby said he first reported the abuse to Reading Police and the Archdiocese of Boston in 1994, by which time the statue of limitations had passed.

But Rigby said he secured a promise from the Augustinian order that Turnbull would be removed from public ministry. Rigby also said he will continue to press for justice, even after receiving his settlement.

“I think the Augustinians need to release all of Robert Turnbull’s personnel records, because in there I’m sure there will be documentation from the seventies showing what the other teachers at Austin Prep knew,” he said.