More Accuse Priest of Sex Abuse in Methuen
By Paul Langner
July 6, 1996
Several men have contacted an Andover attorney since reports were published this week that a 38-year-old man is demanding compensation from the Melkite Catholic Church because, he says, a Melkite priest from Methuen abused him sexually 23 years ago.
The man, whose name has not been released by his attorney, Richard L. Fleming, claims that Father Ross Frey began abusing him sexually when he sought Frey's counsel to help him deal with his stepbrother's death.
Father Frey was a priest at St. Basil's Salvatorian Center in Methuen at the time of the alleged offense.
Fleming said yesterday that five others had also talked to him and that a seventh man had sought him out yesterday. All have told Fleming that Father Frey had abused them sexually when they came to him in times of distress.
The church is represented by Attorney Wilbur Hyatt, who could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The Melkite leader, Bishop John Elya, issued a statement in response, saying that the allegations have "greatly saddened the clergy and staff at St. Basil, given their years of service and ministry to the teen-age population of this area."
Father Frey was unavailable for comment yesterday. He moved to Lebanon last year for language studies, Fleming said.
No suit has been filed yet, Fleming said, but a demand letter has been sent to the Melkite diocese.
Fleming says that the men are demanding that the church set aside funds to cover their and Father Frey's therapy; to pay the complainants' legal costs; to start a counseling program to prevent abuse in the future; and to pay each of the complainants $ 25 million.
The church has not sent a reply, Fleming said yesteday.
Melkites are a Catholic sect that arose in Syria in the fourth century.
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