More than Dozen New Priest Abuse Lawsuits Filed Wednesday

By J.M. Hirsch
Associated Press
May 15, 2002

Concord, NH - More than a dozen lawsuits were filed Wednesday by people who say they were sexually molested by Roman Catholic priests between 1945 and 1980.

Another lawsuit alleges abuse by a teacher at Trinity High School, a private religious school in Manchester.

The lawsuits, filed by lawyer Mark Abramson in Hillsborough County Superior Court, named nine priests and one teacher. Abramson did not immediately return telephone calls.

The teacher, who is identified only as "Mr. George," is accused of sexually assaulting a male student at the school from 1979-1980. It was not clear whether the teacher still works at the school, and school officials did not immediately return telephone calls.

The lawsuit against the teacher, like those against the priests, accused the Diocese of Manchester of negligence and reckless misconduct for not preventing the alleged abuses.

Patrick McGee, spokesman for the diocese, had not seen the lawsuits Wednesday night and declined to comment on the allegations. He did not know whether the teacher still worked at Trinity and he was not aware of any complaints made to the diocese about any teachers at the school. The school is run by the diocese.

Five of the cases named priests who already are accused of abuse in other lawsuits, or whose names were released by the diocese to authorities in February because credible allegations of abuse had been made against them.

The Rev. Francis Lamothe of St. Mary in Claremont was named in a lawsuit last month, accusing him of molesting a Fremont man between 1979 and 1982. Lamothe was retired when he died in 1995.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Lamothe is accused of sexually assaulting another boy between 1958 and 1963.

The Revs. Paul Aube of St. Mary in Claremont, Stephen Scruton of St. Kieran in Berlin, Raymond Laferriere of St. Augustine in Manchester and Gerald Chalifour of St. Peter in Farmington also were named in lawsuits Wednesday. They were identified by the diocese on Feb. 15.

Aube is accused of "severe sexual abuse" of a 13-year-old boy between 1970 and 1972. When the boy asked Aube to stop, the priest told him, "Nobody will listen to you; I'm a priest," according to the lawsuit.

Aube, who reportedly lives in Manchester and was suspended by the diocese, does not have a listed telephone number and could not be reached. He already had been sued by a Rochester man who said Aube assaulted him from 1979 to 1986.

Scruton is accused of abusing a boy from 1965 to 1969. When his name was released by the diocese, he no longer worked as a priest and was employed as a counselor for jail inmates. He was fired when the accusation came out.

Scruton also is accused in a previous lawsuit of knowing another priest was abusing boys, but failing to stop it. Scruton does not have a listed telephone number in the state.

Laferriere is accused of molesting a boy from 1960 to 1961, and Chalifour is accused of assaulting a boy in 1972. Both priests were listed as retired at the time their names were released by the diocese. Neither man had a listed telephone number in the state.

The remaining lawsuits name four priests, whose names were not released by the diocese, which in February said it did not have credible allegations against any additional clergy.

McGee said he did not know the status of the newly named priests, but did not believe any still were serving in active ministry and or that the diocese had received complaints about them.

Two lawsuits filed Wednesday name the Rev. Alfred Constant, who at the time of the allegations worked at St. Anthony in Manchester. One lawsuit accused him of repeatedly sexually assaulting a girl from 1945 to 1948. The second alleged he molested a boy between 1959 and 1962.

Constant does not have a listed telephone number in the state. A message seeking comment was left on the church's answering machine.

Another lawsuit named the Rev. Donald Osgood, who ministered at St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester at the time of the allegations. He is accused of molesting a boy between 1960 and 1965. A phone number for Osgood was not available.

The Rev. Roland Vielette is accused in another lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in 1973 while ministering at St. John the Baptist in Allenstown. Vielette does not have a listed telephone number in the state, and a message was left with the church answering service.

Two lawsuits named the Rev. Paul Grolleau. The first accused him of molesting a boy from 1969 to 1971 while he was pastor at St. George in Manchester. The second alleged he abused another boy from 1969 to 1973 while ministering at St. Michael in Exeter. Grolleau does not have a listed telephone number in the state, and the priest who answered the telephone had only been there two years and didn't know Grolleau.


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