Former Marshfield Priest Defrocked
One of 2 Expelled from Priesthood; Admitted Molesting Altar Boy

Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA)
July 30, 2005

Patriot Ledger staff and news services

BOSTON - A former Marshfield priest who was accused of molesting boys at St. Ann's Church in the 1960s and later became the first Massachusetts priest convicted of sexual abuse has been defrocked by the Vatican, the Boston Archdiocese announced Friday. Eugene O'Sullivan was accused of molesting an altar boy in the sacristy of St. Ann's Church in 1964.

Others came forward and accused O'Sullivan of sexual abuse.

In 1984, he pleaded guilty to raping an Arlington altar boy and was sentenced to probation. A condition of his sentence was that he not be allowed to work with children.

But O'Sullivan was later assigned to four New Jersey parishes. He was recalled to Boston in 1992 after church officials learned of another allegation against him dating back to his time in Massachusetts.

The Vatican's action to defrock O'Sullivan means he may no longer function as a priest in any capacity, except to offer absolution to the dying. Defrocked priests also are cut off from any financial support from the archdiocese.

O'Sullivan served at a number of parishes in the Boston Archdiocese, including St. Agnes Church in Arlington.

Documents from his personnel file, made public in 2002, show that the archdiocese was alerted as early as the 1960s to allegations against him.

A woman wrote in 1964 to then-Cardinal Richard Cushing that O'Sullivan had picked up her 12-year-old son from their summer cottage and took him to the sacristy "under the pretense of checking the altar boy assignments" for St. Ann's Parish. Her son was very upset when he returned home and told his parents the priest had reached into his bathing trunks and "touched him repeatedly in the private area." The woman said her son told her the priest had touched him there on previous occasions.

O'Sullivan's file also contains a January 1985 letter to then-Cardinal Bernard Law from the mother of a 12-year-old boy who said her son was molested by O'Sullivan at St. Agnes Parish.

In a 2003 deposition he gave in lawsuits filed against the archdiocese, Law defended his decision to allow O'Sullivan to transfer from St. Agnes to the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., less than a year after he pleaded guilty to sodomizing a 13-year-old boy in Massachusetts. Law said he wanted to give O'Sullivan a chance at "redemption."

A second priest, Paul E. McDonald, also was defrocked. According to McDonald's personnel file, he was accused of sexually abusing several boys in the 1960s, when he was a priest at St. Joseph Church in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood.

One boy said he was repeatedly molested by McDonald over a five-year period that began when he was 10 years old. Another boy said McDonald befriended his family after two of his brothers were killed in a fire, then molested him and his cousin over two years.


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