Many Suspended Priests Live - and Work - Quietly near Their Former South Shore Parishes

By Elizabeth Crowley and Lane Lambert
The Patriot Ledger

October 20, 2008

The Rev. Daniel Graham is long gone from the pulpit, but he hasn’t left home.

Six years after the Boston Archdiocese removed him from public ministry as part of its new zero tolerance policy toward child molesters, the former pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is living quietly in Quincy, still praying with people in their homes but no longer administering the sacraments.

Within a matter of months, as the clergy sex abuse scandal reached its height in 2002, hundreds of priests in the archdiocese were pulled from their parishes and dropped out of sight – among them were dozens who had been assigned to South Shore churches.

Most, like the Rev. Graham, never faced criminal charges, often because the statute of limitations ran out long before the allegations became public. But they did face a wrenching end to their way of life. As priests they were respected, even revered. As alleged or admitted pedophiles, they now live under a cloud of shame and suspicion.

Boston College psychology professor Joseph Tecce says some of these priests are probably still in denial about what they did. Their feeling remains, “I’m still a priest, I don’t care what anyone says.”He said that attitude is an even greater temptation for priests like the Rev. Graham, who still have loyal supporters.

But Tecce thinks a larger number are feeling guilty and depressed, and are now motivated by the emotional mechanism of “undoing” – making efforts to atone for what they did through good deeds, such as volunteer work for the poor.

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John J. Geoghan appears in Middlesex Superior Court Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2002 in Cambridge, Mass. as jury selection continues for the former Roman Catholic priest's trial for allegedly abusing a 10-year-old boy. Geoghan has been accused of molesting more than 130 people.

The Rev. Graham declined to talk about his current life, but the Rev. Jay M. Mullin did.

The Rev. Mullin, 68, worked at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Hanson for nearly a decade, but was left without a parish when allegations of child sex abuse became public. He denies the charges, and still celebrates Mass, but only in the privacy of his Cape Cod home.

“I’m still a priest,” the Rev. Mullin said by telephone. “I cannot go back to the ministry, but I am still a priest.”

Like other priests listed as restricted or on administrative leave, the Revs. Mullin and Rev. Graham continue to receive salary and benefits from the church.

Priests who’ve been defrocked lose all formal ties to the church and are no longer under church supervision. They are excluded from the clerical state and banned from performing all ministerial functions.

David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, questions how closely the church monitors suspended clergy – the ones who are technically still priests but aren’t allowed to dress as priests or perform priestly duties. He said they often have little diocesan oversight and behave “as if they have done nothing wrong.”

Archdiocese spokeswoman Kelly Lynch disputes that contention and said church officials stay in contact with suspended priests. She said the archdiocese has conducted tens of thousands of criminal background checks since Cardinal Sean O’Malley came to Boston in 2003.

“The Archdiocese is working diligently to create and maintain safe environments in its churches and schools,” she said.

But there is nothing to stop a priest stripped of his authority from taking a job outside the church.

The Rev. Louis J. Govoni was working as a substitute teacher at Duxbury High School in 2003 when church records were made public that he had been accused of molesting a male student when he was a religion teacher at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree in the early 1970s. The Marshfield resident was fired from his job in Duxbury.

Patrick J. Tague, 75, runs a business and lives in Dorchester now, his sister in Marshfield said. Tague was defrocked in 2006 after allegations became public that he abused a 16-year-old inmate at a state halfway house in 1971.

Many suspended or defrocked priests are still listed in the phone book.

The Rev. Gerald J. Hickey, who was removed from St. Helen’s in Norwell in 2002 when allegations that he had sexually abused two of his nephews became public, still lives in Scituate. A man who picked up the phone at his house recently, answered it this way: “St. Bridget’s Parish” – Hickey was assigned to the Abington church from 1987-1994. When a reporter asked for Hickey, the man said, “He’s not in today. He’ll be in tomorrow.”

Wherever they live, priests who’ve been removed from parish work often stay in touch with supporters, who may view their former pastors as the victims of a witch hunt, rather than accused or admitted abusers, said Weymouth attorney Carmen Durso, who handled scores of clergy sex abuse cases.

St. Joseph’s parishioner Bartholomew Caggiano of Quincy says he and others still talk about the Rev. Graham from time to time, and wonder how he’s doing.

“He was good and efficient,” Caggiano said.

Parishoners were shocked when the man they called “Father Dan” was removed in 2002. Church records made public around that time showed that Graham had admitted in 1988 to molesting a 14-year-old boy in the 1960s, when he was at St. John the Baptist Church in Quincy. He was suspended in 1995 but Cardinal Bernard Law reversed the order in early 1996 and put Graham in charge of 19 parishes, including those in Braintree, Milton, Quincy and Randolph.

To see church documents related to the priest sex abuse crisis, go to .

Lane Lambert may be reached at



Rev. John T. Atwater

Director Cushing Hall, Scituate, a home for troubled teenagers, 1971-85. Retired 2000. Died 2006. Accused of molesting two boys at Cushing Hall, one in 1967-68 and one in 1971.

Gary E. Balcom

Immaculate Conception, Weymouth, 1972-78; St. Agatha, Milton, 1978-85. Sick leave 1985. Removed from ministry 1992. Defrocked 1998. Died 2002. Admitted to sex acts with eight or nine boys over 20 years. Former altar boy at Immaculate Conception accused Balcom of molesting him over five-year period.

Rev. Robert E. Barrett

St Mary of the Assumption, Hull, 1969-73. Sent for psychiatric treatment 1995. Retired 2001. Died March 2008. Accused 1993 of abusing boy at St. Mary's in Hull in 1967 and 1968. Also accused of abuse in Framingham.

Rev. Gerard E. Creighton

St. Bridget, Abington, 1974-79. Retired 1985. Died after allegations of sexual abuse were made public 2002. In 1978, a St. Bridget's parishioner reported seeing two young girls imitating a sex act they saw their mother engaging in with Creighton. Transferred to different parishes 20 times in 28 years amid complaints of sexual misconduct.

Rev. Gerard V. Dever

St. Jerome, Weymouth, 1986-93; St. Ann, Quincy, 1993-97. Died 1997. Accused by eight girls at St. Ann's from 1993-96 of inappropriate touching and talk.

Rev. Leo V. Dwyer

Our Lady of Lourdes, Carver, 1958-63; St. Mary of Assumption, Hull, 1963-79. Retired 1979. Died 1989. Allegations became public in 1993. Accused of repeatedly fondling boy at St. Mary's in late 1960s.

John J. Geoghan

St. Paul, Hingham, 1967-74.

Defrocked 1998. Convicted 2002 of fondling 10-year-old boy. Murdered in prison 2003. Accused of abusing some 130 children.

Anthony J. Laurano

St. Mary, Plymouth, 1950-56 and 1987-95, St Mary, Quincy, 1957-58. Retired 1995. Suspended 2002. Defrocked 2007. Died May 2007 before trial on charges he raped 8-year-old boy while he was pastor at Plymouth church in 1991. Also faced charges he raped a retarded neighbor in Hull.

Rev. Paul P. Rynne

St. Mary of The Sacred Heart Parish and St. Coletta's School, Hanover, 1956-58; St. Bonaventure, Plymouth, 1981-86. Placed on leave 1994 after allegation. Died 2001. Accused of raping boy in the 1960s and abusing another boy as many as 100 times. Returned to ministry in Brockton 15 months after being accused in 1986 of making lewd advances to a teenage boy at St. Bonaventure.


Robert V. Gale

St. Joseph, Quincy, 1977-79, Our Lady's Hall, Milton, 1988-91. Removed from ministry 1991. Suspended 2002. Defrocked 2006. Pleaded guilty 2004 to raping altar boy in Waltham from 1980-84. Sentenced to 4-5 years in prison in December 2004. Accused of sexually abusing children from late 1960s through the 1980s. At Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater. Twice denied parole. Scheduled for release 2009.

John R. Hanlon

Star of the Sea, Quincy, 1955-58; St. Mary, Plymouth, 1975-85; St. Paul, Hingham, 1985-93. Defrocked 2005. Convicted 1994 of raping a 13-year-old former altar boy from Carver at Hanlon's Scituate cottage in 1981. Other allegations included assaults on Hingham altar boys in 1987 at his Vermont chalet. Serving three life sentences in Bay State Correctional Center in Norfolk.

Paul R. Shanley

St. Francis of Assisi, Braintree, 1967-69; Exodus House (a retreat for homosexual, "alienated youth") Milton, 1976-79. Defrocked 2004. Convicted 2005 for repeatedly raping a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s. Accused of abusing several children during his time at Braintree church and Milton retreat, among dozens of allegations. Serving 12-15 years at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater.

James F. Talbot

Taught and coached at Boston College High, 1972 to 1980. Pleaded guilty 2005 to raping two teenage students between 1977-79. Sentenced to 5 to 7 years. At Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater.


John A. Dunn

Immaculate Conception, Weymouth, 1960-63; St Mary of the Assumption, Hull, 1967-73. Laicized in 1973 so he could marry. Accused 1993 of repeatedly fondling boy at St. Mary's in late 1960s along with Rev. Leo V. Dwyer and Rev. Robert E. Barrett, both deceased.

Paul J. Finegan

St. Bernadette, Randolph, 1999-02. Defrocked 2006. Admitted to abusing two teenage girls in the 1980s. Also accused of abusing several boys.

Last known address, Randolph.

Thomas P. Forry

Served at parishes all over the South Shore for more than 30 years, including St. Joseph, Kingston; St. Elizabeth, Milton; St. Frances Cabrini, Scituate; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Quincy. Suspended 2001. Defrocked 2006. Accused of beating up the rectory housekeeper in Scituate, having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old woman, and molesting and beating the woman's young son.

Current address, South Boston.

Peter J. Frost

Holy Ghost, Whitman, 1970-74; St. Gerard Majella, Canton, 1977-88; St. Elizabeth, Milton, 1988-91. Removed from active ministry 1992. Defrocked 2005. Admitted to sexually abusing boys as far back as 1969, including a 14-year-old boy at St. Gerard Majella in 1980.

Current address, Natick.

Robert V. Meffan

Sacred Heart, Weymouth, 1957-68; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Quincy, 1970s; St. Thecla, Pembroke, 1986-93. Placed on leave 1993. Defrocked 2004. Admitted to molesting girls who were considering becoming nuns.

Last known address, White Horse Beach, Plymouth.

Eugene M. O'Sullivan

Pleaded guilty 1984 to raping altar boy in Arlington. Sentenced to probation and transferred to New Jersey parishes. Recalled to Boston 1992. Defrocked 2005. Accused of abusing two nephews in Quincy when they were boys.

Last known address, Arlington.

Frederick J. Ryan

St. Joseph's, Kingston, 1998-02. Elevated to monsignor 1998. Former Plymouth area vicar. Defrocked 2006. Molested three boys when he was Catholic Memorial High chaplain in 1970s and 1980s.

Last known address, Chelsea.

Patrick J. Tague

St. Thomas More, Braintree, 1964-65; St. Paul, Hingham, 1965-67. Defrocked 2006. Accused of abusing 16-year-old inmate at a Deptartment of Youth Services halfway house in Roslindale in 1971. Convicted of stealing $30,000 from the facility in 1979. Received suspended sentence.

Current address, Dorchester.

Ernest E. Tourigney

Immaculate Conception, Weymouth, 1960s. Suspended 1993. Defrocked 2006. Two cousins from Weymouth and a Holliston man accused him of molesting them when they were boys.

Last known address, Bourne.

Robert A. Ward Jr.

Holy Ghost, Whitman, June 1999-September 99. Assigned to Whitman following treatment for cocaine addiction. Within two weeks of his arrival, resigned after allegedly downloading child pornography. Suspended 2002. Defrocked 2005. Accused of molesting altar boy in Boston 1970.

Current address, Pembroke.


Rev. Robert P. Beale

Our Lady's Hall, (retreat for priests with alcohol, depression, sexual abuse problems) Milton, 1982-2002. Suspended 2002. Accused of sexually abusing child in 1970s. Last known addresses, Quincy and Stoughton.

Rev. William L. Butler

St. Mary of the Assumption, Hull, 1966-67. Suspended 2002. Accused of molesting Hull boy in 1966 during trip to family home in Canada.

Last known address, Revere.

Rev. James. D. Foley

Assigned to St. James, Stoughton, 1996, three years after church officials learned that he had fathered two children and had a 13-year affair with a Needham woman. Foley admitted he watched his children's mother die of a fatal drug overdose in 1973. Archdiocese settled in 2004 wrongful death suit filed by children.

Last known address, Salem.

Rev. Louis J. Govoni

St. Joseph, Quincy, 1972-77 and religion teacher at Archbishop Williams in Braintree. Accused of molesting student at St. Joseph's from 1971-74. Substitute teacher at Duxbury High until allegations became public 2003.

Last known address, Sandwich.

Rev. Daniel M. Graham

Our Lady of the Rosary, Stoughton, 1970s; St. John the Baptist, Quincy, 1977-90; St. Joseph's, Quincy, 1990-02. Admitted to church officials that he molested 14-year-old boy in 1960s. Several other accusations of abuse. Suspended in 1995. Reversed in 1996 by Cardinal Bernard Law. Placed on administrative leave 2002.

Current address, Quincy.

Rev. Gerald J. Hickey

St. Elizabeth, Milton, 1975-76; St. Bridget, Abington, 1987-94; St. Helen, Norwell, 1996-02. Accused by two nephews of sexual abuse. Archdiocese recommended that he not work with children younger than 16 in 1993. Order overturned by Cardinal Law 1998. Removed from ministry 2002.

Current address, Scituate.

Rev. Victor C. LaVoie

St. Paul, Hingham, 1985-1989. Suspended 2002. Accused of molesting 15-year-old boy at Wilmington church in 1979.

Last known address, Winchester.

Rev. Jay M. Mullin

St. Joseph the Worker, Hanson, 1983-92. Sick leave 1992-98. Parochial vicar in Wayland 1998. Removed 2001. Settled lawsuit in 1992 that he repeatedly sexually abused a boy in Allston in 1970.

Current address, Harwich.

Rev. Arthur P. O'Leary

Our Lady of the Rosary, Stoughton, 1975-81; St. Christine, Marshfield, 1981-91; St. Mary of the Sacred Heart, Hanover, 1991-94. Placed on leave 1994 after the father of two boys in Hanover complained that O'Leary had touched the boys inappropriately. State Police warned church officials in 1985 that O'Leary was seen having sex with strangers at Cape Cod rest stops.

Last known address, Yarmouth.

Rev. Joseph L. Welsh

St. Albert the Great, Weymouth, June - November 1971; St. Joseph, Holbrook, 1971-76; St. Peter, Plymouth, 1976-81; St. Nicholas, Abington, 1997-02. Suspended 2002. Accused of abusing several boys, some at family home in Plymouth, over more than 20 years.

Last known address, Carver.


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