Two Ex-North Shore Priests Defrocked

By Tom Dalton
Salem News
March 23, 2007

Two former North Shore priests, who lived a few years apart at the same Salem rectory, have been defrocked by the Vatican.

The Archdiocese of Boston announced yesterday Anthony Laurano, a former pastor of St. Mary's Italian Church in Salem, and W. James Nyhan, former chaplain at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody, have been dismissed from the church. Both were accused of sexually abusing children,

"With these decisions by the Holy See, both men have ceased to receive any financial support from the archdiocese and may no longer function as priests, with the exception of offering absolution to the dying," the archdiocese said in a statement.

Laurano, 82, was arraigned in Brockton Superior Court in 2005 on two counts of child rape. He pleaded not guilty to raping a child on at least two different dates in 1991 while serving at St. Mary's Church in Plymouth. In 2006, new charges were brought against him by the Plymouth County district attorney, according to the archdiocese.

Laurano retired in 1995 and has been restricted from public ministry since 2002 due to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

He was pastor of the former St. Mary's Italian Church from 1975 to 1987. He was recently featured in "Hand of God," a documentary film about priest sex abuse made by Joe Cultrera, a Salem native, which aired in January on the PBS news program "Frontline."

Last year, Nyhan, 61, pleaded guilty to three counts of committing a lewd act on a minor while stationed at a South Carolina church from 1979 to 1980. He received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation.

He was placed on leave in 2002, when he was pastor of a Billerica church, after a Quincy man alleged Nyhan molested him in the 1970s at a Dorchester church.

Nyhan served at Bishop Fenwick from 1983 to 1994 and lived for some of those years at the rectory at St. Mary's Italian Church in Salem. He was a popular figure at Fenwick, and the school established a scholarship in his honor after he left.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.