Priest Jailed for Sex Crimes

By Scott Malone
Adelaide Advertise [Massachusetts]
July 29, 2006,22606,19949429-5005962,00.html

A MASSACHUSETTS state court overnight sentenced a Roman Catholic priest to four years in prison for sexually assaulting a youth in the 1980s.

The sentencing of Father Paul Hurley, 62, is the latest black eye for the Archdiocese of Boston in a sex scandal that erupted in 2002.

The archdiocese has had to close more than 60 churches and schools after incurring millions of dollars in costs from settling lawsuits filed by people who said they had been sexually abused by priests as children.

According to a statement from the Middlesex County district attorney, Hurley assaulted a 15-year-old boy at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Cambridge, just north of Boston, in 1987 and 1988.

Hurley, who is not currently assigned to a parish, was indicted in 2002 and was convicted last month. In addition to four years in prison, Superior Court Judge Hiller Zobel sentenced Hurley to five years of probation.

At the time of Hurley's conviction, the Boston Archdiocese said Hurley had been placed on administrative leave in 2001 when the charges were first made public. It also said that the archdiocese would "continue to restrict Hurley from any public ministry."

Hurley's lawyer did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

In March, the archdiocese said 88 people would settle claims they were sexually abused by priests, agreeing to a much smaller payout than a first group of abuse victims had received.

In a 2003 settlement with 540 victims of sexual abuse, the Boston archdiocese paid an average award of $US153,000, or a total of about $US85 million.

The scandal in Boston began when it became known that former leaders of the archdiocese, including then Cardinal Bernard Law, left known pedophiles in active ministry or shuttled them from church to church without notifying parishioners.

Law resigned in December 2002 after dozens of his own priests publicly called on him to step down.


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