Latest Batch of Church Files Implicates More Priests

Associated Press
December 18, 2002

BOSTON - One priest slept with a gun and was described in a memo as "homicidal." Another admitted that when he was drunk, he molested teenage boys while they slept. Another allegedly promised a trophy to a boy he tried to rape in the church rectory.

The cases were outlined in the latest batch of personnel files to be released by lawyers suing the Boston Archdiocese over its handling of child-molesting priests. The latest batch consists of about 3,000 pages on 13 priests.

The documents contain a variety of allegations, including those made against the Rev. Anthony Buchette, who allegedly would bring boys on trips, allowing his favorites to sit near him, and sexually molest the boys when wrestling with them.

One alleged victim wrote to the church to describe his pain as a result of such an incident. He described how in about 1980, Buchette tried to rape him, promising the boy one of his deceased sister's bowling trophies if he submitted to Buchette's advances.

Buchette denied the allegations. He told church investigators: "I do not recall the boy. I would never force myself on anyone young or old."

Another set of documents involved the Rev. Joseph K. Coleman, who was accused by a woman of molesting her 14-year-old son in 1987.

When confronted by church officials, Coleman acknowledged that while drinking heavily, he had touched the boy on two occasions and once performed a sexual act, all while the boy was sleeping. Coleman claimed he did not realize that the boy was aware of what he had done to him.

Coleman also acknowledged performing sexual acts on a 15-year-old boy twice while he was sleeping, according to the internal memos.

Coleman went to a psychiatric facility in Hartford, Conn., and was not allowed to return to parish work for six years, but was given a position as chaplain at two Catholic hospitals and was allowed to celebrate weekly Masses.

In 1993, the archdiocese's review board, which was established as part of a more stringent sexual abuse policy, recommended that Coleman continue therapy. But board members appeared concerned that Coleman may have abused other boys.

"The board suggests he consider placing an apology in his file for any victim who might come forward in the future," reads a 1993 summary.

Coleman is listed in the archdiocese directory as being on health leave. The archdiocese's personnel office Tuesday said only that he was not currently assigned anywhere. His home phone number was not listed.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Another one of the priest files released Tuesday contains allegations against the Rev. Gerard Creighton, who is described in one church memo as "homicidal."

The files also say he slept with a gun beside him, and appeared fixated with schemes to make money from allegations he accepted money from female parishioners who took a liking to him to selling furniture out of the parish garage.

The documents hint at possible relationships with women, including the dismissal in 2000 of a lawsuit accusing Creighton of molesting a young girl he counseled as she headed to a convent.

The complaints reached a fevered pitch in 1973, when the Rev. John J. McNally, the priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Rectory in Revere where Creighton was an assistant, wrote a letter to then-Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, imploring him for help.

"For 22 years, this man has been transferred from one parish to another something like 17 times but no one has ever faced the real problem. The man is sick and needs help," McNally wrote in the 1973 memo. "Why must we always place the immediate accommodation of the priest above the good of the church? Why should so many people have to be abused and insulted and alienated from the church, just so that we can give this man a place to sleep?"


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.