More Claims against Priest

By David L. Harris
Transcript [Boston MA]
March 30, 2006

Just weeks after a former Catholic Memorial chaplain was defrocked amid allegations that he sexually abused at least three students in the early 1980s, more allegations are coming forward.

The Rev. Robert Hoatson, a former teacher and assistant headmaster at CM from 1981 to 1985, said Frederick Ryan kept a "Wall of Fame" bulletin board in his residence at the chancery that showcased hundreds of student-athletes in various states of dress and undress.

But that's not all. "After football games, he [Ryan] would massage athletes' backs while they were showering," Hoatson told the Transcript.

Another victim has corroborated Hoaston's account.

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley defrocked Ryan two weeks ago while current CM President Brother James MacDonald has said all of the alleged abuse took place outside of the school.

But Hoatson maintains some of the abuse occurred on school property and was more extensive than has ever been reported. He also said he warned the administration about Ryan back in the 1980s.

"He kept coming out ... hanging out around the football team and the locker room," Hoatson said in a phone interview from New Jersey, where he runs an abuse survivors organization.

"We had a chaplain in the school, and there was no reason he had to be around. He would always be lecturing the kids on sexual proclivities and premarital sex and all that."

As he was watching what was happening, Hoatson said he questioned why Ryan, who was often seen with a camera slung around his neck, was at the school in the first place. Even though Hoatson had raised concerns with the administration, nothing was done, he said.

He said he saw Ryan enter the boys locker room, but didn't know what was going on inside.

"If I had had specific information, I would have screamed bloody murder," said Hoatson.

Hoatson also said he was sexually abused by a Christian Brother, but not by Ryan, while he worked at CM. He is now suing the Christian Brothers, the same religious order that runs CM, for not dealing with abuse allegations at the time.

In addition, Hoatson is suing the Archdiocese of Newark, New York and Albany, charging them with unjustifiably firing him from his job as a priest at the church after he blew the whistle.

Hoatson now plans to write a book about his experiences. He also has written about his experience in an opinion column and letter, which are published in this week's Transcript.

He and another person allege that in addition to Ryan, two Christian Brothers and an English teacher were also abusing CM students during the same general time span.

Hoatson founded Rescue and Recovery International Inc. last fall to deal with survivors of sexual abuse by priests. He now travels to Boston once a week to meet with survivors of Ryan's alleged abuse, including David Carney and Garry Garland, both former athletes who attended CM in the 1980s.

Garland, a former West Roxbury resident who attended Catholic Memorial in the early 1980s, was the prototypical Ryan victim. He was a star athlete at the time: handsome and well built, which is exactly the type that Ryan preyed upon, according to Hoatson.

"The first time was in his Nova car with Iowa plates at Catholic Memorial," Garland told the Transcript this week.

Garland's face was splashed on newspapers after he went public with the accusations four years ago and then was arrested for trying to confront Ryan a few years ago.

Garland and Hoatson both said that Ryan was in the midst of creating a list of victims he allegedly abused at Catholic Memorial in 2002 when the allegations first arose.

Chris Nilan, a former Boston Bruins hockey player and Catholic Memorial graduate who was a friend of Ryan's, told Suffolk Superior Court in testimony in 2002 that Ryan admitted he molested the boys during a trip to Rhode Island in 1981.

Ryan apparently wrote down the names of all his alleged victims after Nilan confronted him and after the allegations first surfaced, according to Hoatson. But before he was to give it to Nilan, he said he couldn't reveal the names without a lawyer. The list was never seen again.

Victims of Ryan's alleged abuse were also angry that Catholic Memorial had still not reached out to them.

"CM never ever did anything for me," said Garland. "They never did anything. Nothing was done."

MacDonald, CM's president, said the archdiocese had already settled the case.

"My understanding was that the archdiocese was providing counseling and services to the alleged victims," said MacDonald. "With Father Ryan being a priest of the archdiocese, my understanding was that the victims or alleged victims were compensated through the archdiocese."

David Harris can be reached at


The Rev. Robert Hoatson, who worked at Catholic Memorial High School in the early 1980s, alleges that the abuse was far greater than has ever originally been reported.

See page 8 for Hoatson's letter to the editor detailing the abuse and an op-ed piece on page 9 about how thankful he is that Monsignor Frederick Ryan's first alleged sex abuse victim, Garry Garland, first went public with the accusations four years ago.


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