Northbridge Man Wants Monsignor Prosecuted

By Kathy Shaw
Worcester Telegram and Gazette
May 22, 2002

WORCESTER -- Mark D. Barry, the subject of a confidential settlement to a civil suit involving alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. Thomas A. Kane, maintains he has been trying to persuade Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte to prosecute a Long Island, N.Y., priest for sexual abuse.

Mr. Barry, of Northbridge, said he took "strong exception'' to a statement made last week by Mr. Conte that he had no "viable'' case against the New York priest, Monsignor Brendan P. Riordan. "I have made four attempts to reach him in the last month or two and have the telephone records to prove it,'' Mr. Barry said. "To put it simply, I want Monsignor Riordan prosecuted.''

Mr. Conte said yesterday that investigators for his office will take a statement from Mr. Barry to determine if there is anything new that can be added to information taken from him in 1999. The district attorney said his records show that Mr. Barry would have been an adult when the sexual abuse by Monsignor Riordan allegedly occurred.

He added that the initial report shows that the alleged incident did not happen in Massachusetts and is out of his jurisdiction.

Mr. Conte declined additional comment on the situation.

Mr. Barry agreed to a settlement in a civil suit in 1995. The suit was against Rev. Kane, former executive director of the House of Affirmation in the Whitinsville section of Northbridge, and alleged that Rev. Kane began sexually abusing Mr. Barry when he was 9 years old and living in Uxbridge. The suit also stated that Mr. Barry was abused by three other priests, including Monsignor Riordan.

The settlement agreement, in which Mr. Barry was awarded about $42,000, prohibited Mr. Barry from publicly discussing the case or taking legal action against the three other priests.
Despite the confidentiality agreement, Mr. Barry said that ``I can say that I have tried to bring criminal actions against Monsignor Riordan.''

Monsignor Riordan, who formerly was a director of the House of Affirmation, was a friend of Rev. Kane. Before Rev. Kane filed for bankruptcy in the early 1990s, he transferred a piece of property he owned in Florida to Monsignor Riordan and Monsignor Alan Placa.
Mr. Barry said he was upset to read statements by Monsignor Placa, who serves in the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York, in The New York Times in which the priest was quoted as saying that Mr. Barry lied under oath about alleged abuse by Monsignor Riordan.

"He is a lawyer, a priest and a man of God. I can't believe that he called me a liar,'' Mr. Barry said.

Lawyer Daniel J. Shea, who is representing several alleged victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, said at a press conference last week that the district attorney has not sought to prosecute Monsignor Riordan in connection with alleged sexual abuse because the monsignor had left the state. Mr. Conte replied by saying he did not have a viable case against the monsignor.

Mr. Barry said he made three calls to the district attorney's office, starting about a month ago, and was referred to Mary Sawicki, who heads the office's sexual abuse investigation unit. She took information from him and said it would be turned over to Mr. Conte, according to Mr. Barry. On a fourth call, he tried unsuccessfully to speak directly with Mr. Conte. He said he never received a return call.

Mr. Barry said he has made other attempts to seek prosecution, including calls to the state attorney general's office and the Suffolk Superior Court, where the original suit was filed. Each time he was referred back to Mr. Conte's office, he said


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