Cardinal Law Settled Unsubstantiated Lawsuit for $200,000

Union Leader (Manchester NH)
December 12, 2002

BOSTON (AP) — Cardinal Bernard Law, in a letter to the Military Diocese, said a priest accused of molesting a boy had nothing in his past to prevent him from working with children as an Air Force chaplain, according to documents released yesterday.

The Rev. Redmond Raux was placed on leave after he was accused of abusing boy at a South Boston parish. He and another priest were named in a suit by the victim, which was settled for $200,000 in 1995.

But Raux consistently denied the charge and Law cleared him to work in the military in May 1996.

"I am unaware of anything in his background which would render him unsuitable to work with minor children," Law wrote in a statement clearing him for service.

The archdiocese issued a statement yesterday saying that it had notified the Military Diocese about the unsubstantiated allegation against Raux.

A call to the archdiocese requesting further documentation or details was not immediately returned.

Raux refused comment when reached at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo. He referred questions to his attorney, Timothy O'Neill, who did not return a call for comment.

Thomas Connelly, a vice chancellor at the Archdiocese for Military Service, wouldn't comment specifically on Raux's case. He added he'd be "very surprised" if an archbishop revealed unsubstantiated accusations about a priest's past.

"All kinds of people make allegations," he said. "We'd want to know as much as we can, but if the Archdiocese of Boston determined there wasn't any substantiated misconduct, that's their call."

The documents on Raux were among the 11 personnel files priests accused of sex abuse released Wednesday. Other allegations in the files include a priest accused of molesting a boy for 21 straight days and another who told the same alleged victim he'd be "closer to God" if he climbed into bed naked with him.

The latest release of about 1,500 pages of archdiocese records is the fourth such disclosure in about a week. The filings come after a state judge ordered the archdiocese to hand over the files — some 11,000 in total — to lawyers representing victims of abuse who have sued.

Raux and the Rev. James Wilson were accused of abusing the boy at Gate of Heaven parish at different times. The boy accused Raux of showing him a pornographic movie and touching his crotch in 1989. He said Wilson molested him when he came to the parish between 1991 and 1992. Wilson admitted the abuse.

"I did touch his genitals," Wilson told the Rev. John B. McCormack, the archdiocese's personnel director, in February 1993, according to the files. "I didn't plan to."

In the same interview, Wilson accused Raux of abusing the same child. Wilson was placed on sick leave in 1993 and reduced to a lay person in 1998. McCormack became the bishop in New Hampshire in 1998.

Among the other details in the documents:IThe Rev. Alfred M. Murphy of the Church of the Assumption in Lawrence allegedly molested a 17-year-old boy on 21 consecutive nights during a cross-country trip in a Winnebago. He allegedly told the boy the trip was to arrange religious retreats at other Catholic parishes.

Nine years later, Murphy's alleged victim sued the Archdiocese of Boston, seeking $420,000 in damages — $20,000 for each of the alleged assaults.IThe Rev. George Callahan, also of the Church of the Assumption in Lawrence, allegedly tried to entice the same boy by asking him if he wanted to ""get closer to God." If so, he allegedly said, ""get undressed and get closer to him."

Callahan was also accused of molesting another boy in 1983. That victim settled his lawsuit against the diocese in 1993 for $17,000, according to the file.

In 1984, Murphy and Callahan left the Church of the Assumption when their Augustinian order ended its relationship with the parish, for reasons apparently unrelated to the allegations.

Members of the Augustinian order are not under the direct authority of the archdiocese.

Murphy resides at St. Thomas Augustinian Monastery in Villanova, Pa. He did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

Callahan also lived there until recently, according to a receptionist. A phone listing for him was not immediately available.IThe Rev. Ross Frey was accused of molesting adolescent boys between 1978 and 1984 at retreats at St. Basil Salvatorian Center in Methuen. He was transferred to Lebanon in January 1996 about the same time church officials heard from a police officer that ""there was about to be some bad publicity," according to the files. He was later placed on administrative leave.

Frey allegedly assaulted one boy the day he learned of his stepbrother's death. Frey told them sexual touching was mandated by the Holy Scriptures, according to the documents. Twelve plaintiffs in 1999 settled the lawsuit for $240,000.

Nothing in the documents indicated that Law or other top archdiocesan officials knew of the allegations before the lawsuit.

Calls to St. Basil, St. Joseph and to one of Frey's former superiors were not immediately returned.


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