Bishop Accountability
  Manchester NH Resources – September 2002

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Retired Msgr. Tancrede accused

By Nancy Meersman
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
September 6, 2002

The Manchester Diocese recently stripped a retired monsignor of permission to serve Mass and wear the priestly collar after a review board concluded that allegations of sexual abuse made against him were credible.

Msgr. Roland E. Tancrede, who had been filling in performing masses at St. Pius X Church on Candia Road, may no longer function as a priest, a spokesman for the church said yesterday.

The Rev. Edward Arsenault, chancellor for the diocese and pastor of St. Pius, has informed parishioners that a credible allegation had been made against the monsignor and that his ministerial faculties had been revoked, according to Patrick McGee, the church's public relations specialist.

Tancrede is one of the priests named in three new lawsuits filed last week in Hillsborough County Superior Court on behalf of individuals alleging they were sexually abused as children by Roman Catholic priests.

An anonymous plaintiff alleges Tancrede abused him many years ago, from approximately 1956 through 1959, while he was an altar boy at Holy Rosary Church in Rochester.

Mark Abramson, attorney for the individual identified only as John Doe No. 33, said Tancrede admitted to church authorities that the allegations were true. The diocese, however, would not address whether the monsignor admitted to sexual misconduct.

"He abused this boy in multiple ways at the rectory, on trips the priest took him on out of state and to Canada. And, he admitted it," Abramson said.

Tancrede, who could not be reached yesterday, is listed in the diocese's directory as a resident of St. John the Baptist Rectory on Alsace Street. He was ordained in 1947 and is believed to be in his late 70s.

McGee said no other complaints had ever been made against the monsignor. "This was the first we had ever received on him," said McGee.

When the complaint was received earlier this summer Tancrede was placed on administrative leave, and it has since been made permanent, McGee said.

Abramson last week filed lawsuits against the diocese, naming Tancrede and two other priests. The latter are both cited in other sexual abuse cases against the church.

The lawsuits accuse the Diocese of Manchester of negligence for employing priests with "a propensity for engaging in sexual contact with minors."

Abramson has thus far filed 54 sexual abuse lawsuits against the diocese. Additionally, the church faces a potential class action suit with about 50 members, plus a dozen more individual cases, for a total of about 120 individuals seeking damages from the church.

All of the plaintiff's lawyers, including Abramson, Peter Hutchins and Chuck Douglas, have been in negotiations with church lawyers in an effort to reach an overall settlement in the cases. None of the parties will discuss the details.

Abramson said he hopes settlement talks will resolve the cases, but in the event no agreement is possible, he is proceeding as if the cases were going to trial. He said he has hired a law firm that specializes in evaluating real estate and other assets that will try to put a figure on the church's wealth. In the other cases Abramson filed last week, John Doe No. 34 alleges he was sexually assaulted between 1969 and 1970 by the Rev. Leo Landry, who has also been accused by other plaintiffs and whom Abramson characterizes as a "monster."

The abuse allegedly took place when the plaintiff was 13 and 14 and serving as an altar boy at St. Kieran's Church in Berlin.

Landry was a member of an order, the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata, and was assigned to the Manchester Diocese between 1966 and 1971, but was not a diocesan priest. Two other plaintiffs have also named Landry as their abuser. According to the diocese, Landry left church employ in 1972.

In the third case filed last week, former altar boy Ryan Metivier, 16 Coolidge St., West Newfield, Maine, alleges he was abused by the Rev. Joseph Maguire, between the ages of 9 and 15 at St. Joseph's Church in Dover.
Maguire, according to published reports, has admitted to abusing several boys, and he is accused in at least one other lawsuit filed by Abramson. Bishop John B. McCormack named him to a list made public last February of 14 priests no longer allowed to function as priests because of abuse allegations.

Abramson said Maguire, who reportedly lives in Hyannis, Mass., abused his client "well in excess of 100 times, in the rectory, in hotels and on what he called 'pilgrimages.' He abused him everywhere they went, in every way imaginable."

McCormack removed from panel

By Rachel Zoll
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
September 6, 2002

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops said yesterday they have restructured their committee that drafts policies on how dioceses should discipline priests who molest children.

Two panel members who were criticized heavily by victims advocates -- Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., and Auxiliary Bishop A. James Quinn of Cleveland -- have been removed and the eight-member panel has been expanded to 15.

The expansion of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse was included in the reform plan the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted in June, hoping to ease the clerical sex abuse crisis fracturing the church.

Patrick McGee, McCormack's spokesman, said he does not believe the bishop was asked to step down. He added that McCormack was pleased to have served on the committee for 10 years and now will focus on the needs of his diocese.

"He was very honored to have served and believes he has contributed to the committee's work," McGee said. "He feels it's a good time for him to move on to working on things in his diocese here."

The new committee will oversee a review of that plan in two years, and will discuss possible local and national meetings with victims.

The panel also will meet with the heads of religious orders, such as the Franciscans and Benedictines, who last month adopted a less stringent abuse policy than the bishops, refusing to oust errant clergy from all church work and instead pledging to help them rehabilitate. The bishops agreed to remove guilty priests from public ministry, and in some cases, the priesthood altogether.

Bishop Wilton Gregory, the conference president, had removed McCormack as chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee earlier this year, though McCormack had stayed on the panel. Before becoming bishop in New Hampshire, McCormack was an administrator in the Boston Archdiocese and is now a defendant in civil abuse cases in Massachusetts.

Priest allegedly assaulted boy in Manchester

By Denise Lavoie (Associated Press) and Kathryn Marchocki (Union Leader staff)
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
September 13, 2002

A Boston Archdiocesan priest allegedly sodomized a 12-year-old boy in his sister's Manchester, N.H., apartment in 1979, church documents made public yesterday reveal.

The Rev. Robert V. Gale, 61, first drove the Quincy, Mass., boy to Camp Fatima in Barnstead, during February school vacation week, the alleged victim told Roman Catholic church officials in 1994.

Gale broke into a cabin, but could not get the heat to work, the alleged victim said. He said the priest then drove him to Gale's sister's apartment in Manchester.

Sensing the boy's apprehension at having to share a pull-out couch with Gale, the priest allegedly said, "Don't worry. What do you think I am, gay?"

The alleged victim said Gale sodomized him in bed. He woke up the next morning bleeding rectally, according to a confidential memo to Bishop John B. McCormack, who at the time handled clergy sexual abuse allegations for the Boston Archdiocese.

"My client states that his strongest memory was of not being able to move, of feeling mentally and physically paralyzed," attorney Peter A. Gleichman said in his 1995 letter to the archdiocese's attorney.

Gleichman yesterday said he filed a civil suit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and Gale in Strafford County Superior Court in Dover. The case settled for $80,000, said Gleichman, a former Portsmouth attorney who now is a partner in a Woodstock, Ga., law firm.

While the alleged victim's name was removed from church documents, Gleichman identified him as his client.

The man contacted at least two other alleged victims of Gale through a newspaper personal ad, Gleichman said. One alleged victim said he also was molested in New Hampshire.

A Massachusetts grand jury indicted Gale Aug. 27 on four counts of child rape for allegedly molesting an altar boy at St. Jude Church in Waltham, Mass. The alleged assaults took place from 1980 to 1984, when the boy was 10 to 14 years old.

Police arrested Gale at his Middleton home, and he pleaded innocent to the charges the next day in Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, Mass. He was released on personal recognizance.

Gale is not currently assigned to a parish.

He is one of five Boston Archdiocesan priests whose personnel files were obtained by attorneys representing about 250 people who allege they were abused by priests.

The 252 pages of church files show the Boston Archdiocese was told about allegations of sexual abuse by the priests, some dating back four decades, but allowed the priests to continue in parish work.

Besides detailing allegations against Gale, the documents describe allegations against the Revs. John Atwater, Richard Coughlin, George J. Rosenkranz and Joseph Welsh.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, an archdiocese spokesman, said the documents are "just part of the ongoing process of discovery. The files once more indicate the level of the problem that we were dealing with as an archdiocese in terms of abuse of children by clergy and the problems around how we dealt with the allegations."

Some allegations are contained in correspondence sent to three church supervisors: McCormack, a top aide to Cardinal Bernard F. Law from 1984 until he became bishop of Manchester in 1998; Bishop Robert J. Banks of Green Bay, Wis., who served as an auxiliary bishop in Boston until 1991, and New York Bishop Thomas V. Daily, who was chancellor of the Boston Archdiocese in the early 1980s.

"There are a number of occurrences, with the knowledge of the supervisors of the archdiocese going back pretty far, and yet they don't remove the priests," said attorney Jeffrey Newman of the Boston law firm of Greenberg Traurig.

"The records, when you look at them as a group, are really quite profound in detailing the specific factual basis on which they could have taken them out of parishes and put them where they would have no contact with children, or simply retire them," Newman said.

Gale's file contains allegations dating back to 1979, including a letter sent to Daily alleging Gale sexually abused two boys, ages 14 and 17, at St. Joseph's Parish in Quincy, Mass.

Another complaint, sent to the late Cardinal Humberto Medeiros in 1981, alleges Gale molested a 13-year-old boy in the boiler room at St. Jude's Parish in Waltham, Mass.

A complaint sent to McCormack in 1992 details allegations by a man who said Gale sexually abused him from 1971 to 1975, when he was an altar boy at Our Lady of Lourdes in Boston.

Other allegations detailed in the documents include:

* In 1985, a man who said he was abused by Coughlin in the 1960s met with McCormack, urging him to tell church officials in California about Coughlin, who by then was running a boys' choir in California. The man said he learned seven years later that Coughlin was still in ministry in California. Coughlin is now retired.

McCormack's spokesman said in March that Boston Archdiocesan records indicate the Diocese of Orange County, Calif., was told of an allegation against Coughlin.

* In 1987, an unidentified man wrote to Cardinal Law saying Rosenkranz had molested him for more than a year in Marblehead, Mass., where Rosenkranz was a priest. Rosenkranz received a five-day assessment at the Institute for Living in Hartford, Conn.

"The person making the charge was unable to provide any corroborating evidence, and your denial was supported by the favorable results of your evaluation," Banks wrote Rosenkranz in May 1988, when he was assigned to St. Joseph's in Salem, Mass.

However, an earlier document says McCormack indirectly questioned Rosenkranz's credibility and suggested terminating his assignment to St. Joseph's, as well as three to six months of inpatient treatment at a Canadian facility.

Rosenkranz is now retired and living in Florida.

* Welsh was accused of sexual abuse in 1993 by a woman who said her son was raped by Welsh as a boy while at St. Joseph's School in Holbrook, where Welsh was assigned. In May 2001, a woman wrote Law to tell him how her son was allegedly abused by Welsh at St. Teresa's in Watertown, Mass. On March 2, 2002, Welsh -- "as requested" -- resigned as pastor of St. Nicholas parish in Abington, Mass.

* A student accused Atwater of abuse while he was director of Cardinal Cushing Academy in Scituate, Mass., in 1971. Atwater denied the allegations. The church sent him to the Institute for Living, which concluded that he had no sexual conflicts.

In February 2002, a South Yarmouth, Mass., man alleged he was abused by Atwater some time after he came to the school in 1967.

Suit alleges 50-year coverup
Law, church are cited by alleged victims of abuse

By Michael Rezendes
Boston (MA) Globe
September 19, 2002

An attorney yesterday filed a civil lawsuit accusing the Boston Archdiocese, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, top bishops, and other church administrators of conspiring to cover up the activities of sexually abusive priests for more than 50 years.

The suit, filed on behalf of 27 unidentified individuals who say they were abused or assaulted by a total of 12 priests, alleges church officials failed to respond to complaints of sexual abuse, protected the perpetrators, and ''actively sought to cover up the evidence of such abuse.''

''This has been going on for years and years and years,'' said Carmen L. Durso, the Boston lawyer who filed the suit. ''Individuals in the diocese have been aware that it's been going on and haven't done anything about it.''
Donna M. Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said she had no comment because church officials had not received a copy of the suit. ''Until we receive something, there's not much we can say,'' Morrissey said.
Defendants in the lawsuit, in addition to Law, include three of the cardinal's former top aides: Bishop John B. McCormack of the Manchester, N.H., Diocese, Bishop Robert J. Banks of the Green Bay, Wis., Diocese, and Bishop Thomas V. Daily of the Brooklyn Diocese.

Church documents released earlier this year under court orders issued in connection with other lawsuits show that Law and the three bishops played significant roles in reassigning several priests after they had been accused of sexual misconduct. Law has said he acted, in every case presented to him, on the basis of the advice given to him by his aides. McCormack, Banks, and Daily have all denied any wrongdoing.

Among the priests reassigned after allegations were made against them were the Revs. Paul R. Shanley and Robert V. Gale, each of whom has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of child rape. Shanley and Gale are among eight current and former priests also listed as defendants in the lawsuit.

The suit also names priests who are not defendants in criminal or previously filed civil actions. One is the Rev. John E. McLaughlin, the pastor at St. Benedict Church in Somerville.

The suit does not provide details of the alleged abuse or assaults committed by any of the priests named. But Durso said the allegation against McLaughlin was made by an adult man who says the priest touched his groin in the St. Benedict rectory when the man sought counseling last June. ''He got close to him and he started rubbing his back then started touching his groin,'' Durso said.

McLaughlin did not return telephone calls yesterday afternoon.
The living defendants in the lawsuit are the Revs. Edward T. Kelley and Bernard J. Lane and former priests Paul J. Mahan, Richard T. Coughlin, and Patrick J. Tague.

Tague has had other legal troubles. In 1979, he was given a suspended prison sentence, fined $600, and placed on probation for three years after being convicted in the 1976 theft of $30,000 from a Hyde Park halfway house for juvenile delinquents. Reached at his Dorchester home yesterday, Tague said he had no comment.

The lawsuit also names four deceased priests, accusing the archdiocese of covering up alleged sexual misconduct by the Revs. Leonard Stanton, Paul Moriarty, Thomas F. Dempsey, and Joseph W. Kenney.

McCormack, Law accused of sex abuse cover-up

By Kathryn Marchocki
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
September 19, 2002

Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston and three former top aides, including Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack, are accused of conspiring to cover up 50 years of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, a civil suit filed yesterday alleges.

The 27 plaintiffs also claim the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston didn't respond to their complaints of sexual abuse and protected priests at their expense, a draft of the suit says.

Besides Law and McCormack, the suit says Bishop Robert J. Banks of Green Bay, Wis., and Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn, N.Y., conspired with 10 other unknown church administrators to conceal criminal sexual abuse by pedophile priests.

"They decided over the last 50 years that they wouldn't out these priests," Boston attorney Carmen L. Durso said yesterday.

By hiding the information, church officials "made it possible for priests to abuse and continue to abuse people," added Durso who represents the alleged victims.

McCormack denied he was involved in a conspiracy. "I reject completely the concept that there was any conspiracy. I never participated in any conspiracy, nor did I ever witness any such activities," he said in statement.

"While I served as a priest in the cabinet of Cardinal Law, my concern was always to respond to allegations of abuse and to help the victims, the parishes and the priests," he said.

McCormack said he couldn't comment on details of the suit because he had not seen it.

None of the priests served in the Manchester diocese, he added.

An archdiocesan spokesman did not return a call for comment.

The 27 men and women plaintiffs say they were molested by eight current and former Boston archdiocesan priests and four others who are dead.

The alleged abuse occurred from 1951 to 2001 at numerous Boston area parishes, church-affiliated facilities and in South Dakota and Wisconsin, the suit says. "This is a conspiracy. The conspiracy is to hide the information regarding abuse from the public. McCormack is an exemplar of that by saying we didn't talk about it because it would cause scandal. What can the man be thinking?" Durso asked.

While giving testimony in June, McCormack reportedly said he didn't publish notices in church bulletins alerting parishioners that some priests may have molested children because it "would create a scandal."

McCormack, whose fourth anniversary as Bishop of Manchester is Sunday, began handling some clergy abuse complaints as Law's secretary of ministerial personnel from 1984 to 1994 and was put in charge of clergy sexual misconduct cases from 1992 to 1995.

The eight living priests also are named as defendants.

They include the Revs. Richard T. Coughlin, Robert V. Gale, Edward T. Kelley, Bernard J. Lane, Paul J. Mahan and Paul R. Shanley.

The alleged victims also are "reliably informed" that more than 300 other people were sexually abused during the same time period, either by the same 12 priests or other unnamed priests, the suit adds.

Durso said he will file suit in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston.

In alleging a civil conspiracy, Durso claims that the cardinal, bishops and 10 administrators, whose names are not known to the plaintiffs, agreed to engage in the same kind of activity.

"They each decided that they would hide this information," he explained.

The suits claims the Archbishop of Boston is a corporation duly organized under Massachusetts law responsible for the hiring, training, supervision and retention of its clergy.

As bishops, McCormack, Banks and Daily controlled its operations, the suit continued.

"When you have a corporation, the corporation's knowledge is the knowledge of all the people in the corporation," Durso said.

"You can't say McCormack knew about this one, but not others," he added.

McCormack has said he was unaware of Shanley's public advocacy of sex between men and boys and complaints of child sexual abuse that date back until 1967 until Shanley's personnel file became public in April. He blamed this on poor record keeping by the archdiocese.

McCormack said he learned of the first abuse complaint brought against Shanley in 1993.

Durso said he shares information with two other Boston attorneys who handle clergy sexual abuse cases, Roderick MacLeish Jr. and Jeffrey A. Newman.

Durso said he decided to file suit because of unsuccessful attempts to settle these cases with the archdiocese.

"If it motivates the archdiocese to talk about settlement, we're ready," he said.

MacLeish, of the Boston law firm Greenberg Traurig, represents four alleged victims of Shanley and is seeking the personnel records of more than 70 priests accused of abusing minors. Records of five priests were released last week.

MacLeish has said he hopes the records will establish a pattern of conduct with regard to how the church handled these cases.

Lawyer: Bishop’s actions key in scandal

By Kathryn Marchocki
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
September 20, 2002

Boston -- A Boston attorney yesterday said he doesn't have to show that Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack agreed to hide pedophile priests in the Boston Archdiocese to prove he was involved in an alleged conspiracy to cover up their abuses.

"We don't have to prove that Bishop McCormack and Bishop (Thomas V.) Daily got together and said, 'Hey, let's hide this stuff.' It's enough to show by their actions they hid this stuff," attorney Carmen L. Durso said.

Durso filed civil suit in a Boston court Wednesday alleging the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, and three of his former top aides -- including McCormack -- conspired to cover up 50 years of criminal sexual abuse by Boston clergy.

It isn't necessary to show two individuals conspired to commit a wrongful act "so long as its existence can be plausibly inferred from the words and the actions of the individuals involved," Durso said at a news conference at his Boston law office.

Durso pointed to thousands of pages of church personnel files for more than a dozen priests -- including the Revs. Paul R. Shanley, Bernard J. Lane, Joseph E. Birmingham and Ronald H. Paquin -- the courts made public this year.

The files reveal many instances in which Boston Archdiocesan officials allowed priests to continue in ministry despite receiving sexual abuse complaints against the clerics.

By hiding the alleged abuses from parishioners and the public and shifting accused priests from parish to parish, church officials conspired to protect pedophile priests at the expense of their victims, Durso alleged.

Besides Law and McCormack, the suit names Daily, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Bishop Robert J. Banks of Green Bay, Wis.; and 10 other unknown church administrators as defendants.

The suit was filed on behalf of 27 unidentified men and women who said they were sexually abused by 12 priests from 1951 to 2001.

Only eight of the 12 priests are alive. They include Shanley, Lane, and the Revs. Richard T. Coughlin, Robert V. Gale, Edward T. Kelley and Paul J. Mahan.

As Law's secretary for ministerial personnel from 1984 to 1994 who was put in charge of handling clergy sexual misconduct from 1992 to 1995, McCormack handled many clergy abuse cases.

They included those involving Shanley, Paquin, Kelley, Lane, Coughlin, Gale and Birmingham.

McCormack said in a statement Wednesday that he rejected "completely the concept that there was any conspiracy. I never participated in any conspiracy, nor did I ever witness any such activities."

His spokesman yesterday said McCormack was a priest while he served on Law's Cabinet and "was never responsible for assigning any priest until he became bishop of Manchester."

A Boston Archdiocesan spokesman yesterday said she could not comment on the suit because she has not yet reviewed it.

Durso said he is not aware of another suit of its type to have been filed against the Catholic church.

"What I don't think anybody has done is to take all of their clients, put them together in one suit and allege one conspiracy," he said.

The civil conspiracy theory rests on the premise that the Boston archbishop is a corporation and its knowledge is the "sum of what its agents know."

A person or corporation can be liable in a civil conspiracy if he knows the conduct of another is a breach of duty or he gives "substantial assistance or encouragement" to the other, Durso said.

"A defendant who doesn't know the entire conspiratorial sweep nevertheless . . . is liable in the civil context for all acts in furtherance of the conspiracy," he said.

Law is responsible for abuses that predated his 1984 arrival in Boston because he was part of the continuing conspiracy, Durso alleged.

Law, he said, knew about Shanley's alleged abuse but "treated it as if it were some minor thing, some personal problem, some inconvenience."

Bishop: Catholics reducing their gifts

By Kathryn Marchocki
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
September 24, 2002

Rank-and-file Catholics have shown their displeasure over the clergy sexual abuse scandal by reducing their level of giving this year, Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack acknowledged yesterday.

Collection baskets are coming in lighter at some New Hampshire parishes and fundraising campaigns haven't been as successful, he said.

"There are some people who express their dissatisfaction by not contributing either to the parish or, this year, to Catholic Charities or other fundraising efforts of the church," the bishop said.

"In some parishes, there has been no decrease in the offertory collections. In other parishes, there has been a decrease," he told nearly 50 people at a Manchester Rotary Club luncheon at the Chateau Restaurant. The annual Catholic Charities appeal is nearly $400,000 behind its goal, though it hopes to close the gap before the campaign ends Jan. 31, McCormack said.

Catholic Charities so far has raised about $2.7 million this year, he said. It raised $3.1 million by this time last year.

The non-profit organization set a total $3.3 million goal this year.

Catholic Charities is one of the largest private, social service agencies in the state. It runs the New Hampshire Food Bank, nursing homes and counseling centers.

The bishop later said the sagging economy also is partly to blame for the dip in donations, particularly in southern New Hampshire where many have lost jobs.

McCormack later said he did not know how the Bishop's Fund is faring in the midst of the controversial climate.

Parishes make no direct payments toward legal settlements victims have reached with the church, McCormack said. Most settlements are paid with insurance money or diocesan funds, he added.

McCormack spoke about efforts he and bishops nationally are taking to prevent sexual abuse of children and to restore the laity's trust in their church and its leaders.

"This is a scar in (the church's) life. How do we heal that wound?" he asked.
The diocese has hired a private company to assess the Manchester diocese's record keeping, the bishop said.

"Is it a consistent and open system?" he asked.

McCormack later explained he ordered the review in response to the release of retired Boston priest Paul R. Shanley's personnel files in April.

McCormack blamed poor record keeping in the Boston archdiocese for his not knowing about earlier sexual abuse allegations against Shanley and the retired priest's advocacy of man-boy sex.

McCormack handled clergy sexual misconduct cases for Law.

A private New Hampshire law firm is doing an audit and inventory of all files of sexual misconduct involving minors kept at the Manchester diocese, diocesan spokesman Pat McGee said.

The bishop also said a task force is being established to review the diocese's sexual misconduct policy against guidelines contained in the proposed charter the nation's bishops adopted in Dallas in June.

While some Catholic and secular media have said the Vatican would not grant legal approval to the guidelines, McCormack said he doesn't know how Rome will react.

"I have no idea," he said.

The task force will be comprised mainly of laity and should be in place by the end of the year, McGee said. The bishop at this point intends to work under the directions of the proposed charter even while its outcome is unknown, he added.

"If it has to be revisited, then it would have to be revisited," McGee explained.
McCormack also said the church needs to support the many good priests who work under a cloud of suspicion since the scandal broke in January.

N.H. bishop tells parish about priest’s affair with teenager

By Robin Washington
Boston (MA) Herald
September 30, 2002

New Hampshire Bishop John B. McCormack, a former aide to Bernard Cardinal Law, wrote a letter to parishioners at Jaffrey's St. Patrick Parish, acknowledging a sexual relationship by their priest, the Rev. Roland Cote, with a teenage boy in the 1980s yesterday.

Cote also apologized, reading a letter to his congregation asking forgiveness for the relationship, but stating that the young man was 18 at the time.
"What I did was wrong, but it did not involve a minor or a parishioner," Cote said.

McCormack said Cote's actions did not violate the Diocese of Manchester's policies on child sex abuse and that he made the right decision when he appointed Cote to St. Patrick in June - the same period he was being deposed in the Rev. Paul R. Shanely case.

But a witness at an unrelated deposition, McCormack vacilated on the age of the young man, sometimes saying he was 17, and other times saying he was 18 or 19, according to Associated Press.

Sources have told the AP the boy was 15 or 16, and that had he been older, there would have been no grounds for a criminal investigation by the Sullivan County Attorney's office.

In Boston, meanwhile, Law appeared at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross after a trip to Rome, but did not address the church scandal.

Instead, he offered the support of Catholic Charities to Boston janitors on the eve of their possible strike.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.


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