Priest Charged in 40-Year-Old Rape
McMahon Stripped of Priesthood after Charges Surfaced

By William Rabb
News Journal
April 18, 2006

A Catholic priest who retired to Pensacola has been charged with the rape of a young girl almost 40 years ago in the Boston area.

The Rev. Gerard McMahon, 70, was stripped of his priesthood March 30 after the local Catholic diocese was told that charges were pending against him in Foxborough, Mass., a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee said Monday.

McMahon has had no official capacity since retiring here in the early 1990s, said Peggy DeKeyser, spokeswoman for the local diocese.

He filled in occasionally at services, funerals and events when other priests were out of town or unavailable, but he now is barred from that, she said.

The local diocese was unaware of any allegations against McMahon before March 30, DeKeyser said.

Last year, the diocese fingerprinted McMahon and checked his background in keeping with the church's 2005 national proclamation that aims to protect children. The check revealed no issues, DeKeyser said.

McMahon did not return telephone calls Monday.

He was charged with one count of rape on the girl, who was younger than 14 at the time, and one count of indecent assault and battery of the same child.

He knew the girl from his duties as priest at St. Mary's Church in Foxborough, Mass., from 1967 to 1970, authorities said.

He left the Boston Archdiocese in 1970 and served in the military for 20 years before retiring.

The woman approached Massachusetts authorities last year. Prosecutors were able to pursue the case because the Massachusetts statute of limitations excludes the time a rape suspect lives out of state, according to news reports.

Dozens of Catholic priests nationwide have been charged with sexual abuse of minors, but only a handful in the Pensacola area have been implicated.

"Every case causes us great pain and tragedy," DeKeyser said.

No court date has been set for McMahon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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