Accused Priest Cleared to Return to Merrimac Parish [Boston MA]
June 5, 2005

BOSTON --A priest accused of sexually abusing a child has been cleared to return to active ministry now that a church review panel has failed to substantiate the allegations, a spokesman for the Boston Archdiocese said Sunday.

The Rev. Edward Sherry was placed on administrative leave in 2003 after a lawsuit was filed accusing him of sexually abusing a child about 30 years earlier.

But a review board appointed by the archdiocese was "unable to substantiate this claim after a careful review of the information available," said archdiocese spokesman Terry Donilon.

Sherry is allowed to immediately return to his old job as pastor at the Church of the Nativity in Merrimac, Donilon added. He's expected to celebrate Mass next Sunday.

Father William Kremmell, who took over for Sherry at the Merrimac church two years ago, announced Sherry's reinstatement during celebrations of Mass this weekend, according to Donilon.

Sherry was one of four priests placed on leave in August 2003 in response to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors. Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley had met with the four priests individually and asked them to step aside until the allegations could be investigated.

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who represented several of Sherry's accusers, said his clients already have settled their claims with the archdiocese. They refused to participate in the review panel's investigation, Garabedian added.

"My clients simply didn't trust the process," he said. "They weren't interested in participating in an investigation that was conducted by the Archdiocese of Boston, because it wasn't an independent investigation."