Accused Priest Has 'No Memory' of Rape

By Laurel J. Sweet
Boston Herald
April 27, 2006

Dinner parties where the booze flowed and the table talk invariably turned to the Vietnam War were the slippery slope that now has an aging priest accused of raping a child 40 years ago, the Herald has learned.

The Rev. Gerard McMahon, 70, a priest at St. Mary's Church in Foxboro in the late 1960s, "has no memory of any abuse because he was an alcoholic who suffered blackouts," his attorney Joseph Machera said.

Machera said McMahon, who left St. Mary's in 1970 to become a Navy chaplain and now lives in Florida, was a frequent overnight guest at the Foxboro home of the victim, a girl barely 7 when the alleged abuse began in 1967.

"Everyone, including Father McMahon, would drink too much," Machera said of the ecumenical gatherings hosted by the girl's parents, whom Machera described as politically active, progressive Catholics.

The now-sober McMahon would get too drunk to drive home, he said, citing witness statements, and spend the night at the house.

Though he refused to elaborate, Machera said, "It was after these drinking bouts that the parents' decisions in regards to their daughter's safety are questionable."

McMahon is accused of one count of rape of a child and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child. McMahon's supporters are marshalling.

Doreen Mason, 49, one of five siblings, recalled looking up McMahon in the 1980s to tell him the kid who once seemed destined for trouble was now a college graduate.

"I wanted to set the record straight about me," Mason said. "I'll set the record straight for him this time. He used to come to our house and watch Red Sox games. All we have are great memories of him."


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