Group Calls for More Information on Accused Former Priest
Deceased Ex-Teacher at St. Thomas Moore Target of Abuse Claim

By Kenton Robinson
The Day [New London CT]
August 7, 2004

Norwich - Saying another victim of sexual abuse has come forward, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is calling upon Bishop Michael R. Cote to release information about Father Edward P. McGrath. McGrath, who died in 1998, taught for 28 years at the St. Thomas More School in Montville. Four years ago, an alumnus of the school told administrators that McGrath sexually molested students. The school conducted an investigation and sent out letters to alumni and students' parents informing them of the allegation.

The school also informed them that McGrath died at the age of 62 of cirrhosis and liver cancer, the causes of which can include hepatitis type B and C infections associated with sexual activity.

After a five-month investigation, the school concluded that there was merit to the allegations, according to Headmaster James F. Hanrahan.

Landa Mauriello-Vemon, the Connecticut director for SNAP, said she has faxed and e-mailed a letter to Cote asking him for any information the diocese has on McGrath. A new victim of McGrath has approached SNAP for assistance, she said.

She said she could not identify the victim, who goes by the pseudonym Richard Priest.

"We know of more than one victim, and what we'd like is to see service records, and I would like Bishop Cote and I to go to any camp or school or parish that McGrath served in and speak to people about him so that other victims can come forward and get help," Mauriello-Vernon said.

Jacqueline Keller, the director of communications for the diocese, said Friday that McGrath never served as a priest in the diocese.

"Edward McGrath had nothing to do with the diocese of Norwich," Keller said. "He was employed by St. Thomas More, and he was never checked by the diocese of Norwich, because he came to eastern Connecticut at the request and under the supervision of St. Thomas More."

Hanrahan was unavailable from comment Friday.

McGrath was ordained as a priest in 1969 in the Salesian order of Don Bosco, an international order of missionaries dedicated to "care for disadvantaged youth in developing countries," according to the order's mission statement.

"Their objective is to help youngsters achieve intellectual, emotional and spiritual maturity, thus becoming self-sufficient contributing members of society, with Christian values and good social skills," the statement says.

The order has more than 34,000 members in 128 countries and has recently come under fire for allegedly allowing pedophile priests to cross international boundaries to escape prosecution.

The question of who is responsible for McGrath is "very convoluted," Mauriello-Vemon said, because of his affiliations with the Salesians and because he spent some summers as an associate pastor in three parishes in Pennsylvania.

"We're trying to figure out who he was working for when he was traveling," she said. "That's very unclear. No one wants to say who was responsible for him when, and that's what we're looking for, and I think a big step would be Bishop Cote traveling with me to all the parishes. Let's reach out to these people... we just want to know where do we go to get help for these victims?

"Who's responsible? Who is it we can work with? The fact is that St. Thomas More falls within Bishop Cote's territory. He can easily take a stand, and that's what we're hoping for."


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