Former North Adams Priest Faces Suit Alleging Sex Abuse

By Susan Bush
Berkshire Eagle
March 24, 2003

A 46-year-old city man has filed a six-count civil complaint against a former priest who served at Notre Dame Church and its former school for allegedly abusing him when he was a student and altar boy.

The complaint also names the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield as a defendant.

A copy of the complaint against defrocked priest Ronald Malboeuf was released Friday by attorney John J. Stobierski of Greenfield. Stobierski has filed similar suits on behalf of other alleged victims of abuse at the hands of priests, including former Berkshire County Commissioner and North Adams mayoral candidate Paul Babeu.

The latest complaint identifies the plaintiff with the pseudonym "Bartholomew Doe" to protect his anonymity.

The suit, filed in Hampden County Superior Court, alleges that while assigned to Notre Dame, Malboeuf committed assault and battery, inflicted emotional distress and the violated civil rights of the man while he was a student at the school and a church altar boy.

The alleged incidents began during 1967 and 1968, when the man was 11 or 12 years old and continued for two to three years, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that Malboeuf sexually molested the boy in places such as the church, and that the alleged incidents occurred following confession, altar boy meetings and, on at least one occasion, following a funeral.

Malboeuf allegedly informed the victim that "what they were doing was all right as long as they confessed their sins afterward," the suit states.

It also alleges that Malboeuf "breached duty of care through his negligent conduct" and "as a direct and proximate result of the defendant's violation of his civil rights, the plaintiff suffered damages, including severe emotional and physical distress."

Malboeuf, who also served at St. Anthony's Parish, was removed from the priesthood in 1988. Stobierski said he believes Malboeuf currently resides in Inverness, Fla.

The complaint alleges that the Springfield diocese "knew or should have known that Malboeuf posed a significant danger to minor boys."

Doe is seeking judgment against Malboeuf and the diocese through a jury trial; jurors would set the amount of any settlement award, according to the complaint.

Another new complaint involving an unidentified 52-year-old Chicopee man has also been filed by Stobierski. That complaint alleges abuse occurred at Cathedral High School in Springfield at the hands of the late Rev. Karl Huller, a priest who taught at the school. The alleged abuse began in the plaintiff's junior year, identified as 1966 through 1967, according to the complaint.


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