Alleged Victim Takes Issue with Diocese

Boothbay Register [Maine]
Download September 26, 2003

The family of an alleged sexual abuse victim 20 years ago is refuting some of the statements apparently made by a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Portland in last week's front page story which brought to light charges against Father Thomas Lee, a former priest at Our Lady Queen of Church.

Voice of the Faithful, a national organization formed by Catholics concerned about the sexual abuse crisis in their church, has been working closely with the victim's family. Paul Kendrick, speaking on behalf of the family, challenged Diocese claims that allegations first made in 2002 were "second-hand" and that the alleged victim did not come forward, thus closing the investigation.

According to Kendrick, the family maintains that the Diocese, did, in fact, have first-hand information from the victim himself last year about the alleged incident which occurred some 20 years ago when Father Lee was serving the local parish (until the investigation got underway earlier this month and he stepped down, Father Lee was serving a parish in Lyman).

According to the victim's family, a parent first contacted the Diocese (the so-called second-hand allegation) last year which was then followed by a personal call from the victim to the Diocese's investigator, who scheduled a personal interview with the victim.

The family reports that the investigator failed to show up at the meeting, and that the victim, convinced his allegations were going nowhere, did not pursue the matter. The family maintains that the Diocese did not pursue its investigation, either.

Voice of the Faithful has interceded on the victim and family's behalf, following comments about the alleged misconduct made to the Bishop by a parent during an anniversary celebration recently at Our Lady Queen of Peace, and also comments made to Father Lee himself, who was present at the celebration.

Since working with the family, Voice of the Faithful said this week that at least two other victims have come forward to tell of incidents of inappropriate behavior involving Father Lee; they have been referred to the Diocese for investigation.

Voice of the Faithful has also been working to have the victim's parent restored as Lector at Our Lady Queen of Peace, after allegedly being removed from the position by Father Raymond Picard. While they have been told the parent will be reinstated in November, Voice of The Faithful is working for the parent's immediate return to the job.

Voice of the Faithful serves as a survivors' network for alleged victims, with its first goal to support these victims of abuse.


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