Archdiocese Clears Accused Priest, While Restricting His Ministry

By Danielle Williamson
MetroWest Daily News
March 3, 2007

Hudson - Hudson priest who retired in 2003 amid sexual abuse allegations will remain a priest after the Boston Archdiocese determined the claims against him were "unsubstantiated."

The Rev. Thomas Curran, however, will have only limited priestly authority, a spokesman for the archdiocese said yesterday.

"While the canonical process concluded that the complaints against Father Thomas Curran were unsubstantiated, nonetheless Father Curran's ministry will be restricted to sacramental celebrations with members of his family," spokesman Kelly Lynch said in a statement.

Lynch said by telephone that out of respect for Curran's privacy, the archdiocese would not comment on the basis for the restriction. Curran will maintain his status of "permanent disability," and he will continue to be paid by the archdiocese, Lynch said.

Curran, 60, was placed on paid administrative leave in August 2002 from St. Michael's Church in Hudson, where he had served since 1996. The archdiocese suspended Curran after a man accused the priest of raping him more than 25 years earlier, when the man was a minor.

At the time he made the allegations, Curran's accuser was imprisoned for raping a boy.

Church documents detail an interview with the man, who said Curran sexually abused him in the 1970s at St. Mary's Parish in Cambridge.

The man said Curran introduced him to the Rev. Paul Shanley, another priest implicated in the church sex abuse scandal. That introduction led to further abuse and Shanley encouraging the teenager to prostitute himself, the interview shows.

Curran was on leave for more than a year before retiring in December 2003.

"Last week I submitted my letter of resignation ... for reasons of health," Curran wrote St. Michael's parishioners on Dec. 11, 2003. "Since the time I was falsely accused of sexual abuse, you have probably prayed for my return. For that I am most grateful. Now is the time to move on with our lives."

Lynch said the retired priest will continue to live with his family. She could not say where Curran resides.

Curran's lawyer, Russell B. Higley of Cambridge, did not return a call seeking comment.

There are no civil or criminal proceedings against Curran, the archdiocese confirmed.

(Danielle Williamson can be reached at 508-490-7475 or


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