Ex-Foxborough Priest Indicted on Decades-Old Rape Charge

By Cristina Silva
Boston Globe [Massachusetts]
April 14, 2006

A former Foxborough priest was indicted yesterday for the alleged rape and sexual abuse of a young girl nearly 40 years ago, the Norfolk district attorney's office said.

Gerard McMahon, 70, of Pensacola, Fla., was indicted by a Norfolk grand jury on one count of rape of a child and one count of indecent assault and battery of a child, said David Traub, a spokesman for the district attorney's office. McMahon was not in custody yesterday, and it was not clear when he would face formal charges.

McMahon is accused of raping and indecently touching the girl, whom he knew from his duties as a priest at St. Mary's Church in Foxborough between 1967 and 1970, Traub said.

Despite the lapse of time since the alleged crime occurred, the district attorney was able to pursue charges because of a provision in the statute of limitations that excludes any period of time a suspect is not a resident of Massachusetts.

Rape victims are usually able to pursue charges only in the six years after the alleged crime.

McMahon left the Boston Archdiocese in 1970 and served in the military for 20 years before retiring to Florida, said Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

The victim, who was younger than 14 years old when the alleged rape occurred, came forward last year, Traub said.

"The investigation lasted several months," he said. "It involved communication with the victim and others. . . . More of the allegations will come forward in court."

No court date had been set as of yesterday, Traub said.

Traub would not comment on the sequence of events surrounding the alleged rape. No one else has come forward to accuse McMahon, Traub said.

McMahon has been restricted from public ministry until the investigation is complete, Donilon said.

McMahon's lawyer, Joseph J. Machera of Revere, did not return calls placed yesterday by the Globe.

After leaving the military, McMahon moved to Pensacola, where he was occasionally asked by other priests to work in various churches, though he was still considered a priest with the Boston Archdiocese, said Peggy DeKeyser, spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

"On March 30, after we heard of the allegations, he was instructed he was no longer able to practice any priestly ministry within our diocese," DeKeyser said in a telephone interview. "Of course, our diocese does not in any way condone that behavior.

"He has never been assigned to any kind of assignment in our diocese," she said. "His presence here was coincidental. Priests here sometimes asked him to help out, but he was never a priest in our diocese."


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