Priest Allegedly Abused by Elderly Mom

By Jason B. Johnson
Boston Herald
November 30, 1995

An 83-year-old woman who allegedly repeatedly abused her son, a Catholic priest confined to a wheelchair, in their Cape Cod home over the past month was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation yesterday after being arrested twice this week on charges of assault.

Police say Martha Motherway repeatedly struck her 53-year-old son, the Rev. Thomas Motherway, inside the house they shared at 2 Muscovy Lane in Yarmouth, even burning him with a cigarette last month.

"Alcohol was a factor," said Detective Sgt. Paul Rooney of the Yarmouth Police Department.

Police were unaware of the abuse until Monday, when Martha Motherway was first arrested. She was arrested again the following day, hours after a temporary restraining order against her had expired.

In both cases Motherway called police herself.

"She called (Monday). She was unhappy with the home health care aide who was taking care of her son," said Rooney.

On Monday, Motherway was arrested after admitting she pulled her son's hair. She pleaded not guilty to assault and battery the following day.

"We obtained an emergency restraining order on Monday night and that order expired at 4 p.m. Tuesday," said Rooney. "We then got a call (Tuesday) night at 7:20 p.m. It was her."

When police arrived, they said, they saw Motherway strike her son in the face.

Motherway was held overnight at the Yarmouth police station, then transferred to Barnstable District Court. She is now being held at Cape Cod Hospital.

The Rev. Motherway was assigned to Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville so that he could be closer to his mother, officials said.

"It's a personal matter, I'd rather not discuss it," he said when contacted last night.


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