Alleged Abuse Victim Calls for Priest to Be Defrocked

By Stephanie Barry
The Republican
June 25, 2008

SPRINGFIELD - Standing outside the Roman Catholic chancery yesterday, an alleged clergy abuse victim implored local church officials to support his bid to get a priest defrocked.

William J. Nash, 41, of Ashfield, said he was repeatedly assaulted by the Rev. James Tully, a member of the Xaverian Missionary Fathers, while Nash was a student at the order's seminary in Milwaukee, Wis.

Tully could not be reached.

As part of a thick packet of information he handed out to reporters, Nash attached a $75,000 out-of-court settlement he reached with the order in 2005, and correspondence between the order and lawyers for Nash.

Nash, a small business owner who helps broker the works of Mexican artisans, said he aspired to be a priest from an early age and attended the seminary after graduating from the University of Massachusetts in the 1980s.

He said the abuse began shortly after he enrolled.

Nash yesterday was surrounded by members of Survivors of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, a vocal advocacy group. After recounting his alleged abuse, he dropped several letters in a nearby mailbox calling for Tully to be defrocked as cameras rolled and flashed.

He also marched up to the Elliot Street residence of The Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, to hand-deliver an appeal for his support.

"He probably has a little better access than I do to the Vatican," Nash said, adding that he was inspired to act publicly by Pope Benedict XVI's unequivocal denouncement of pedophile priests.

A spokesman for the local diocese said McDonnell does not have the authority to help spearhead an initiative to defrock Tully. That would be solely up to the religious order to which Tully belongs, he said. Diocesan spokesman Mark E. Dupont issued the following statement in response to Nash's press conference.

"Certainly we would extend to Mr. Nash the services of our Counseling, Prevention and Victim Services office. But the disposition of Fr. Tully is a matter that must be resolved by the Xaverian order in communication with the Vatican," Dupont wrote. "By hosting this media event outside our diocesan offices SNAP misrepresents this situation and perhaps confuses the public into thinking that this priest is present in our diocese and under our authority which is most certainly not the case. We encourage SNAP to show better judgment and avoid such misleading events in the future."


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