Bishop Accountability
  Manchester NH Resources – July 1–22, 2003

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Dartmouth Chaplain Calls O'Malley a Perfect Choice

By Dale Vincent
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
July 2, 2003 [photo of priest]

The Rev. Brendan Buckley, the Catholic chaplain at Dartmouth college, yesterday said his friend, Bishop Sean Patrick O’Malley, is a perfect choice as archbishop of the Boston Diocese. But he doesn’t envy him.

Buckley said O’Malley has long worked with immigrant populations and people who have been “marginalized.”

Buckley said O’Malley became interested in working with immigrant populations while studying in Washington, D.C. O’Malley was named director of the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington in 1973. Buckley said he built it into a comprehensive center, offering a wide range of services, including health and social services.

Buckley has known O’Malley for 30 years.

“I met him in 1973, when I was a student at St. Anselm’s (College),” he said. The two met at a conference for friars in Hudson. Buckley said they hit it off because they had mutual interests.

In fact, Buckley twice served internships at the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, D.C., at O’Malley’s invitation. O’Malley also asked him to serve as director of the center, which he did before being called back by his provincial to serve at Dartmouth’s Aquinas House last year.

This will be O’Malley’s third appointment to a diocese where sexual abuse by priests has devastated the Catholic community. In 1992, he was appointed bishop in Fall River, Mass., and last fall, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Now, he’s being asked to heal and unite the Boston archdiocese. Buckley said, “I think he’s going to be a help.”

He described O’Malley as an intellectual who tells jokes, a man who loves beautiful music, although he’s not a musician.

“He’s a very humble man,” Buckley said. “Even as bishop, he continues to wear the brown habit.”

Does Buckley expect O’Malley to invite him to the installation ceremonies?

“He’d better,” he said, laughing. Although O’Malley comes from the Pittsburgh Province of the order, Buckley expects he and others from the Province of St. Mary will be in attendance.

The Diocese of Manchester yesterday issued a statement from Bishop John B. McCormack saying the bishop has sent his best wishes and prayerful support to the archbishop-elect.

The statement said McCormack knows O’Malley from his days as the bishop of Fall River and is heartened by his assignment.

“He has proven himself to be a competent and compassionate shepherd to God’s people and a forthright leader in dealing with matters that affect the people of the church,” McCormack said in the statement. “I look forward to his return to the area and the opportunity to collaborate with him in the pastoral ministry of the Catholic bishops of New England.”

Lawyer Seeks Apology from Retired Bishop

By Associated Press
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
July 5, 2003

Manchester -- The lawyer for an alleged victim of clergy sexual abuse has filed a court motion seeking an apology from retired Bishop Odore Gendron of the Diocese of Manchester.

But the diocese says it doesn't know where to find Gendron.

The apology was part of a $350,000 settlement the man reached with the diocese last November. Gendron, who was bishop of the diocese from 1975 to 1990, was bishop when the man alleged he was sexually abused by a priest in Salem in the 1970s.

"Gendron has had seven months to write one apology letter," lawyer Peter Hutchins said in his motion filed Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester.

He said he had made numerous requests for the apology.

The diocese said it has had no contact with Gendron, though the bishop emeritus maintains a residence at St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester and receives regular paychecks.

Bishop John McCormack already has issued an apology to all of Hutchins' clients.

Gendron has no formal pastoral responsibilities and thus no obligation to keep the diocese apprised of his schedule, said Diane Murphy Quinlan, assistant to the diocesan delegate. The diocese is not in regular contact with him, she said.

Last month, diocesan spokesman Pat McGee said the diocese could not find Gendron.

"I don't know if someone's gotten word to him," McGee said. "We haven't seen him, Bishop Gendron is 80-something and retired. We have no control over his actions."

As part of the settlement, the diocese agreed to cover $50,000 in psychotherapy treatment for the man. If no apology is forthcoming, Hutchins wants the $50,000 for therapy made into a cash settlement.

Bishop Christian to Be Deposed in Sex Abuse Suit

By Katharine McQuaid
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
July 9, 2003

A Manchester attorney plans to depose the city’s Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian as part of a class-action lawsuit against Bishop Guertin High School and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart religious order.

In last month’s deposition of Brother Roland Ouellette, the former regional head of the Sacred Heart order explains how Christian advised him against making public sexual abuse allegations against one of the school’s teachers. A 1995 memo written by Ouellette also talks of Christian’s involvement in the issue.

Attorney Peter Hutchins represents 16 former Bishop Guertin students who say they were abused by teachers at the school. He said he wants to know why Ouellette sought Christian’s advice in a Bishop Guertin matter when the Brothers of the Sacred Heart are independent of the Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

“What the heck is Monsignor Christian doing offering this type of advice to the school and the order and why is this guy blindly following it?” Hutchins said.

Yesterday, diocese representative Diane Murphy Quinlan said she could not comment on Ouellette’s deposition, which was made public Monday, because she had not seen it and because Hutchins’ suit does not include the diocese. She didn’t know details of Christian’s pending deposition.

Hutchins predicted the deposition will happen within the next month and a half.

In his record of events, Ouellette said he sought Christian’s advice in 1995 when parents of a former student came forward to say that Brother Guy Beaulieu, a former Bishop Guertin teacher, had molested their son in 1977. Ouellette said Beaulieu admitted to the abuse.

The parents had also taken the matter up with the diocese, Hutchins explained.

The parents did not ask the school for money, but had a list of other demands. Ouellette’s memo said they asked that a letter of apology be sent to their son, a letter telling of Beaulieu’s abuse be sent to all students who attended Bishop Guertin at the time, and that the brothers hold a mass to pray for the victims.

In his deposition, Ouellette said he did not write a letter to former students because Christian had advised him not to. His memo about the events said Christian told him the family’s “request for going public will be too much for the school and the diocese . . . Br. Guy needs protection and we need to safeguard his basic right to be innocent until proven guilty.”

State Drops Abuse Case Against Rev. Robichaud

By Associated Press
Manchester (NH) Union Leader
July 11, 2003

Laconia, N.H. — The state suddenly dropped its case Friday against a Roman Catholic priest during his second trial on charges that he raped a teenage altar boy nearly 20 years ago.

The Rev. George Robichaud was the first priest to face criminal charges in New Hampshire since the church-abuse scandal erupted in 2001. His first trial ended in April with a deadlocked jury over the accuser’s age — the same issue that led prosecutors to end the second trial.

The accuser, now a 33-year-old state trooper, testified Thursday in Belknap County Superior Court that he was certain he was 15 at the time of the alleged assaults.

That night, however, he “racked his brain” and concluded he was 16 — the age of consent at the time, said prosecutor Lauren Noether.

“Though the event occurred, the statute in effect at the time does not allow for prosecution ,” she said in a handwritten note to reporters.

“We had to drop this case on a sheer technicality,” she said later.

Robichaud, 60, “is relieved that it is all over,” said his attorney, Peter Callaghan. “We disputed what happened and maintained it did not happen at all.”

Robichaud, who had pleaded not guilty, had acknowledged having inappropriate sexual contact with the youth, but denies raping him.

The trooper testified that Robichaud took the boy to his cottage on Lake Winnisquam in 1985, fondled him and had anal sex with him briefly. The man said he pretended to be asleep but moved away after Robichaud penetrated him. Robichaud tried to rape him again but failed, the man testified.

Last year, the trooper, wearing a hidden recording device, met with Robichaud. The priest said he was drinking at the time and didn’t mean to hurt the trooper when he “played affectionately” with him.

“The victim feels the system worked and knows he has to be true to that system,” Noether said. “He feels his efforts were not in vain, that he has inspired others. He feels vindicated.”

Maggie Fogarty of Dover, a member of Voice of the Faithful and New Hampshire Catholics for Moral Leadership, called Friday’s outcome “outrageous.”

“My heart is broken for the victim, the survivor, here,” she said. “This is an added injustice to what he’s already endured.”

She said the age of consent doesn’t take into account how sexual predators seduce their victims over time.

“They get immobilized,” she said of the victims. “Their predators actually prepare them to not be able to say no.”

“I would hope that our judicial process would allow for what we know about abuse to impact the decisions we make about abusers,” she said.

Ex-Church Leaders Said to Hide Data

By Ralph Ranalli
Boston (MA) Globe
July 12, 2003

A Jesuit priest who is the former chief of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital has excoriated former leaders of the Archdiocese of Boston for withholding key information about accusations of sexual misconduct against priests he evaluated for the church.

During a two-day deposition taken in May by lawyers representing alleged abuse victims, the Rev. Dr. Edwin Cassem accused church leaders, particularly Bishop John B. McCormack, of concealing the information.

He said that he was was appalled to learn that church officials had apparently ignored his advice and reassigned some abusive priests to active ministry after he recommended that they be kept away from parish work.

The list of priests Cassem evaluated includes some of the archdiocese's most notorious abusers, including the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, who is facing criminal charges for allegedly raping young boys.

During the deposition, Cassem said he was "stupefied" that the archdiocese had apparently withheld documents suggesting that Shanley was involved with the North American Man/Boy Love Association and that Shanley believed that boys were generally the aggressors in seducing men. Had he known that information, Cassem said, he would have recommended that Shanley be "laicized and jailed."

"He was a notorious, dangerous pedophile," Cassem said. "He was a predator. He was a scumbag . . . castration was too good for him."

Cassem called McCormack, a former top aide to Cardinal Bernard F. Law who now leads the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., a "liar" during the deposition. But he later withdrew the accusation during a process that allows deposition witnesses to correct mis statements and typographical errors in their testimony.

The transcript of Cassem's deposition was released as lawyers for alleged sexual abuse victims and the archdiocese met behind closed doors with mediators to discuss a potential settlement of the more than 500 abuse-related civil lawsuits filed against the church.

Cassem, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist who is still affiliated with MGH, was part of a group of psychiatric experts who called themselves the "priest treaters" and worked during the late 1980s and into the 1990s evaluating priests who had been accused of sexual misconduct.

Law testified in his deposition that he relied on Cassem's advice and last year asked him to be a member of the Cardinal's Commission to Protect Children, a panel that advised the archdiocese on ways to prevent further child sexual abuse by clergy.

Cassem declined comment on his testimony yesterday, through a spokeswoman at MGH. A spokesman for the archdiocese could not be reached for comment.

But Joseph L. Doherty Jr., a Boston lawyer who represents McCormack, accused Roderick MacLeish, an attorney who represents alleged victims, of provoking Cassem by withholding documents before the deposition and then ambushing him with information that was taken out of context.

"It's tremendously unfair," Doherty said. "It paints a completely inaccurate picture of [Cassem's] relationship with McCormack."

In his deposition, Cassem said that he had avoided working on issues of sexual abuse until being asked by McCormack in the mid-1980s. Out of "a sense of loyalty" to the church, he said, he eventually consulted with McCormack on dozens of priests for more than a decade without charging a fee.

Cassem's evaluations were often brutally frank. He once said that Shanley, who is charged with raping four boys during the 1980s at a now-closed Newton parish, was "so personally damaged that his pathology is beyond repair."

And unlike McCormack - who a Globe Spotlight Team review found often decided that an admitted abuser had changed his ways - Cassem took an extremely pessimistic view of the chance for rehabilitation.

At the beginning of his deposition, he admitted that he sometimes evaluated priests - including Shanley - without meeting them in person. He defended the practice by saying that there was little need to do so once they admitted to their abuse.

The 370-page deposition shows that Cassem became increasingly angry as MacLeish, a lawyer for a Boston firm that represents more than 260 alleged victims, presented him with internal church documents that appeared to show that key information about priests' records had been withheld from him.

Cassem evaluated Shanley in 1994, after several allegations had surfaced that he had molested boys. Based on a review of church records, Cassem recommended that Shanley be kept away from any ministry.

Cassem also insisted he was never told that another archdiocesan priest that he evaluated, the Rev. John M. Picardi, had admitted to raping a man in a Florida motel room in 1992.

Cassem said he could not remember his 1993 recommendation about Picardi, but three years later the Vatican allowed Picardi to return to active ministry in the Diocese of Phoenix, until he was suspended in February after the rape admission became known.

Cassem also lashed out at church officials for apparently ignoring his advice in the cases of several other priests, including the Rev. James D. Foley, who fathered two children with a married woman who died of a drug overdose.

During his first day of questioning, Cassem said he believed he had recommended that Foley not be returned to active ministry and had applauded Law for saying that Foley should instead be "in a monastery doing penance."

On the second day, however, upon learning that, at McCormack's urging, Law had given Foley a new assignment in Salem, Cassem said he wanted to "withdraw" his compliment of Law.

Diocese: Settlement Funds on Way

By Albert McKeon
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
July 18, 2003
The Diocese of Manchester has apparently made a final settlement payment to a group of alleged sexual assault victims, just weeks after a court action revealed that an insurance carrier would not cover the diocese’s claim.

The diocese has paid the remaining $585,942 of a $5.02 million settlement to 62 clients of Manchester lawyer Peter Hutchins, diocesan spokesman Pat McGee said Thursday.

Hutchins and the diocese postponed a Thursday court hearing on the matter after coming to an agreement, both sides said.

“I do anticipate imminent payment,” Hutchins said Wednesday.

Hutchins filed a motion earlier this month seeking immediate payment, arguing his clients did not agree to wait for the diocese to receive funds from insurance carriers. The diocese contended that it had followed its agreement with Hutchins, including its pursuit of the remainder of the settlement from its insurance carriers.

Diocesan officials and Hutchins have long spoken of their cordial relationship while negotiating settlements over the past year for alleged victims of clergy abuse. The two sides quickly came together again, only weeks after Hutchins pressed the matter in court.

“The last 10 percent is difficult to wait for,” McGee said. “We’ve made payment on that. We’re very happy to do that. It puts the final piece in place for them, and lets them move on.”

McGee would not detail where the diocese obtained the money, other than to say that it did not come from parish, institutional or school funds.

A guaranty fund had denied all of the diocese’s claims on policies once held with a now-bankrupt insurer, leading to the delayed payment to Hutchins’ clients. But the diocese told its insurance counsel it would continue working on coverage for its claims.

Hutchins reached the settlement with the diocese last November. Hutchins’ clients pay him a third of their settlement amounts, while he secures their anonymity, arranges treatment and helps them avoid testifying publicly or in a closed session with the diocese, he said.

The attorney had also filed a motion on behalf of one of the 62 clients, asking the diocese to follow through on its pledge to provide a written apology from Bishop Odore Gendron.

Hutchins had sought a court order for the apology because the diocese said it could not find Gendron, whose official residence is still St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester. Gendron led the diocese from 1975-90.

The diocese was finally able to reach Gendron, McGee said. The client, an unidentified man, has received a letter from Gendron, but he is not satisfied with the content, Hutchins said.

The man alleged the Rev. Albion Bulger sexually abused him in the 1970s. Bulger served St. Kathryn Church in Hudson and Mary Queen of Peace Church in Salem during that time, while Gendron was leading the diocese.

Bishop John McCormack has provided written apologies to many of the alleged abuse victims who have made legal settlements, and he has met personally with some of them, McGee said.

McCormack Won’t Face Criminal Charges

By Mark Pratt
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
July 21, 2003
Boston – No criminal charges will be filed against top church officials in the Archdiocese of Boston’s clergy sex abuse scandal, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office said Sunday.

Attorney General Thomas Reilly’s report, based in part on a 16-month investigation by the state grand jury he convened, documents what happened in the
archdiocese and suggests needed changes to prevent future abuse, according to WBZ-TV Channel 4, which cited an unidentified source who has reviewed the document.

The attorney general’s office would not release the document on Sunday, but confirmed the accuracy of the television report.

“The attorney general has completed a comprehensive 16-month investigation of the Archdiocese of Boston and the report will be released sometime this week,” Reilly spokesman Corey Welford told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney for more than 100 alleged abuse victims, said he had not seen the attorney general’s report but expressed disappointment that there would be no criminal charges.

“Given the number of tragedies that have occurred by these sexual molestations and the allowance of these sexual molestations, many of my clients were hoping that there would be indictments so church leaders and individuals would be held responsible,” he said.

Gary Bergeron, 41, one of 54 men who say they were abused by the late Rev. Joseph Birmingham, never expected top church officials to be charged.

“I am not surprised there are no indictments because of the way the laws were written,” Bergeron said. “But it’s unfortunate that, for all intents and purposes, men who agreed to sanction the abuse of children throughout the years cannot be indicted.”

Archdiocese spokesman Rev. Christopher Coyne said he could not comment until the report was made public.

The grand jury investigated whether the former Boston archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Law, and some of his top aides, many of whom are now bishops in other dioceses, could be held criminally responsible for moving priests from parish to parish even when they knew of abuse allegations.

Reilly said publicly in April that it would be difficult to indict church supervisors for allowing abusive priests to remain in parish work because of weak child protection laws in Massachusetts that were in place when the abuse took place. Reilly came to the same conclusion after the grand jury investigation, according to the report.

Law resigned as archbishop in December, after nearly a year of criticism over his role in allowing abusive priests to remain in parish work. Bishop Sean Patrick O’Malley was named July 1 as his successor. Bishop Richard Lennon has served as interim head of the archdiocese since Law’s resignation.

In addition to Law, at least eight other top officials in the Boston Archdiocese were subpoenaed to answer questions about their handling of complaints against priests, including the Rev. Thomas Daily, now bishop in Brooklyn, N.Y.; the Rev. Robert J. Banks, now bishop in Green Bay, Wis.; and the Rev. John McCormack, now bishop in Manchester, N.H.

The attorney general’s report also suggested ways to prevent future abuse, including increasing penalties for failure to report suspected abuse and ways for the church and laity can work closer together to prevent abuse.

The archdiocese has instituted its own abuse policies, which Reilly has criticized as not tough enough.

The archdiocese is facing about 500 civil suits from alleged victims of clergy sex abuse.

Church officials have repeatedly said they remain committed to working toward an out-of-court settlement.

Claims against Priest Outlined

By Theo Emery
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
July 22, 2003

Boston -- The Rev. Paul Shanley paid to rape and molest teenage boys and sometimes shared them with other men – including at least one fellow priest, according to court documents filed Monday by attorneys for Shanley’s alleged victims.

The filing outlines in graphic detail the scope and breadth of the claims against Shanley, a central figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that has enveloped the church and now hangs over Boston’s incoming archbishop, Sean Patrick O’Malley.

The documents include 21 affidavits from alleged Shanley victims and a 220-page brief previewing the case that attorneys for Gregory Ford and his family plan to present in their trial against the archdiocese, Cardinal Bernard Law, New Hampshire Bishop John McCormack and other key figures in the scandal.

One alleged victim – a man who immigrated at 14 from South America to Lowell – said in an affidavit that a man he met through his church would send him to Shanley, who would molest the teenager and send him back to Lowell with an envelope of money, some of which the boy would keep.

The “deliveries” continued over many years. Each time the boy would receive $50 after Shanley sexually abused him. When he was 17, the priest began taking him to bars, and would bring the teenager for games of spin-the-bottle with groups of older men, who would strip and pair off for sex.

“I did not want to have anything to do with them, but if I didn’t show up for the meetings which he arranged for me, he would become totally enraged and threatened me with physical harm,” wrote the alleged victim, who was not named.

Victims’ attorneys are hoping Suffolk Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney will allow them to present evidence of abuse by 25 other priests whose behavior was allegedly covered up by church officials to keep the sex abuse crisis secret.

Ford has sued over abuse he allegedly suffered when he was a young parishioner at St. Jean’s Parish in Newton. Shanley is also facing criminal charges for raping and sexually assaulting four men.

No dates have been set for either the civil trial or the criminal trial.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Church attorney Wilson Rogers III, who was also required to submit trial briefs Monday, did not return telephone calls on Monday.

In a related matter, Attorney General Thomas Reilly’s office announced that a report on clergy sex abuse will be released to the public on Wednesday.

The report, the product of a 16-month investigation by Reilly’s office, concludes that criminal charges against the archdiocese are not warranted, but also includes extensive evaluation of how church officials handled the scandal.


Bishop Accountability © 2003