Priest: Archdiocese 'Won't Let Me' Talk

By Tom Farmer
Boston Herald
February 17, 2002

The Rev. Jon C. Martin, who is being sued along with the Archdiocese of Boston for failing to properly supervise convicted serial pedophile Christopher J. Reardon, is living in seclusion in New Hampshire and said he is under orders from the archdiocese not to discuss the case.

"I can't. I can't. The archdiocese won't let me; it's under litigation," Martin told the Boston Herald Wednesday after responding to a knock on the door of his lakefront home in Barnstead.

Martin, the former pastor at St. Agnes Church in Middleton where Reardon was employed as a youth worker, has not been seen publicly since he resigned his position in February 2001.

Answering the door to his darkened home in a bathrobe about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Martin appeared groggy and disheveled, as if he had just awoken.

When prodded to comment about Herald reports that he was aware of complaints that Reardon was molesting children before the allegations were reported to police in June 2000, Martin again responded, "I can't. I can't. It's under litigation."

Martin and the archdiocese are being sued by more than a dozen of Reardon's victims who allege Martin and church officials knew of allegations concerning Reardon but did nothing.

The victims' attorney, Jeffrey A. Newman, says he is confident the archdiocese will settle the case but is prepared to depose Martin and go to trial.

The Herald has reported that a visiting priest expressed concerns to Martin about Reardon in August 1999, and that a secretarial worker at St. Agnes church made a complaint about Reardon to the archdiocese's Office of Youth Ministry in Quincy in January 2000, some six months before Reardon was arrested.

And in police interviews of Martin obtained through a public records request, Martin told detectives he called "the bishop's office" to report the complaints about Reardon four months before his arrest.

The archdiocese has declined to comment on the Herald reports.

"According to the office of ministerial personnel, Father Jon C. Martin is on a health leave of absence and currently does not hold any assignment within the Archdiocese of Boston. On the advice of the Rogers Law Firm, the Archdiocese of Boston will not discuss specific matters pertaining to ongoing litigation," the archdiocese said in a statement late last week.

Reardon pleaded guilty to 75 of 129 criminal counts involving 29 boys he molested through his youth jobs at the Middleton church and at the Danvers YMCA. He was sentenced to 40 to 50 years in prison.

His parents and attorney told the Herald "90 percent" of Reardon's crimes could have been prevented if action was taken when the secretary complained in January 2000.

The Herald reported last August that four Middleton church workers were pressured by the Rogers Law Firm not to cooperate in the Reardon probe because they were aware that Martin was having sex with adult males in his church living quarters and the revelation could expose the archdiocese to liability.

The Herald also has reported that Martin was treated for "sexual issues" before being assigned to the Middleton parish and again after the Reardon allegations surfaced.

Martin's home is part of an association of homeowners on Barnstead's Locke Lake. Neighbors said they were unaware he was currently living there but had seen news accounts of the Reardon case.

A sign attached to the home reads, "Welcome to the Martin Manor, 'FJ' Soul Proprietor," while another reads, "Love is the most durable power in the world."


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