Defrocked Springfield Priest Will Not Get a Pension

The Associated Press, carried in Telegram & Gazette
June 29, 2006

Springfield, Mass.— A recently defrocked priest accused of sexually abusing minors will not receive a pension from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, a church official said.

The diocese had ended Richard Meehan's monthly stipend of about $1,000 when he was defrocked June 8.

Diocese spokesman Mark Dupont said the decision would only apply to Meehan.

"We reserve the right to review each case as each comes to some sort of clarity or finality," he said.

Priests become eligible for pension benefits at age 70 unless forced into retirement by health issues. Meehan is 64.

Meanwhile, the diocese has initiated a process that could lead the Vatican to defrock at least six other diocesan priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors.

In each case, the diocese's review board or its predecessor, the misconduct commission, found allegations of sexual abuse to be credible against each of the six as it did with Meehan. The six receive either pension benefits or a monthly stipend. All were removed from ministry after being accused of sexual abuse.

Meehan was the second priest in the diocese to be defrocked by the Vatican amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Richard Lavigne, who was accused by more than 20 men of abusing them as minors, was defrocked in 2003.


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