|NY Priest Pleads Guilty to Raping 3 Teenage Boys
Abuse Occurred on Boston Trips
By Maddie Hanna
July 23, 2008
A New York priest accused of raping three teenage boys in Boston during the 1970s and '80s pleaded guilty yesterday, in a deal that will spare him time in prison and the victims the anguish of testifying about their ordeal.
The Rev. Frank Genevieve nodded as Suffolk Superior Court Judge Charles Spurlock gave him a suspended sentence of eight to 10 years.
Genevieve, 52, who was removed from active ministry in 2002, was also put on five years probation and barred from contact with the victims or with children under 16. He also was ordered to register as a sex offender, to receive sex offender therapy, and to wear a Global Positioning System monitoring device during the probation, said Erika Gully-Santiago, a spokeswoman for the Suffolk district attorney's office.
The sentence was a plea deal agreed upon by the defense, prosecution, and victims, Assistant District Attorney Leora Joseph said in a phone interview after the sentencing.
"These are complicated cases factually, because so much time has passed, and that creates a difficult evidentiary issue for us," she said.
From the victims' perspective, "there's value in not having to testify," Joseph said, "and not be subjected to cross examination. And there's great value in hearing the defendant admit his wrongdoing."
The Globe usually does not name victims of sexual abuse, but two of Genevieve's victims, Mark Lyman and David Landfear, spoke in court yesterday and agreed to be identified.
"Do I feel 100 percent that justice is served here?" Lyman asked after the hearing. "Yes. It was agreed upon. Would I have liked to see him go to jail? I think we all would have. . . .
"Putting some of these victims on the stand may have proved a very arduous task," he said.
Speaking in court before the sentencing yesterday, Landfear said Genevieve "should have gotten [a] longer" sentence.
"You ruined my life," he added, looking at Genevieve. "Period."
Lyman, 44, who lives in New York, said he told family members four years ago that he had been abused.
Genevieve met two of the boys at their parish, St. Anthony of Padua, in Troy, N.Y., and brought them to Boston on multiple occasions, officials said.
Lyman said Genevieve began to abuse him when he was 14. He was the oldest of five children and lived in public housing with his mother, Lyman said.
Genevieve befriended him, Lyman said. "He told me he loved me, and the touching became - it wasn't so subtle anymore."
It started with tickling, Lyman said. Then, he said, Genevieve began to touch his genitals.
"The entire time he's assuring me this is not something I need to worry about, that he loves me, and I can trust him, and it is just between him and I," Lyman said.
Lyman said Genevieve took him to a rectory in the North End, where Genevieve sometimes worked, and the abuse escalated.
Like Lyman, Landfear, 40, of Cohoes, N.Y., said Genevieve exploited his weaknesses.
He was 13 and living in a group home when the abuse began, he said. Genevieve gave him clothes and sneakers, Landfear said. Then, the priest started giving him cash, "20, 30, 40 bucks."
When Genevieve brought him to Boston and abused him, "I didn't know what to do," Landfear said. "I'm in Boston; I don't know anyone."
Genevieve's lawyer in Boston, Robert Sheketoff, did not comment yesterday on Genevieve's thoughts on the sentence. "It's a compromise," he said.
The Rev. Robert M. Hoatson - who founded Road to Recovery, a support group for victims of clergy sexual abuse - said he was disappointed Genevieve may not serve jail time. But, like the victims, Hoatson said he was satisfied.
"The fact that that man sat there today and admitted guilt . . . that was a victory," he said. "This just spared everybody a horrific trial, and the priest finally told the truth, which he should have said a long time ago."
The Rev. Robert Campagna, provincial minister of the Franciscan Province of the Immaculate Conception in New York, said Genevieve was removed from active ministry in 2002, after an allegation of sexual abuse unrelated to those he pleaded guilty to yesterday. He had been disallowed from functioning as a priest publicly and confined to monasteries.
After yesterday's sentencing, Campagna said a board of church officials will review Genevieve's case. The worst punishment is that he will be "restricted to a monastery the rest of his life," Campagna said. "You can't go anywhere, can't do anything."
Maddie Hanna can be reached at email@example.com.
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