Defrocked, Suspended Priests Continue to Live Comfortable Lives

By Lane Lambert and Elizabeth Crowley
The Patriot Ledger

November 1, 2008

QUINCY — Defrocked priest Ernest Tourigney, 72, still lives in the Pocasset neighborhood of Bourne on Cape Cod.

It’s the house where several men say “Father T” molested them in the 1960s and ’70s when they were boys and he was a priest at Immaculate Conception Church in Weymouth. Jeffrey Scolamiero, 43, of Pembroke, is one of them. He settled a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Boston for $70,000 earlier this year.

Tourigney was defrocked in 2006 after the church settled several other allegations against him, including those of two other boys from Immaculate Conception.Since the church cut its ties with Tourigney when it defrocked him, no one is in charge of keeping track of him. Scolarmiero says he’s taken on the task himself because he doesn’t want Tourigney to get too comfortable.

Scolamiero and Alexa MacPherson, 33, of Holbrook, were among more than a dozen people who contacted The Patriot Ledger after reading an Oct. 18 report on defrocked and suspended priests living on the South Shore.

MacPherson and her family try to keep current on the whereabouts of the Rev. Peter Kanchong, who still lives in Dorchester. He was removed from public ministry in 1983 after he was sentenced to probation for molesting MacPherson when she was 9.

She says two of her brothers were also molested by the Thailand native. But, she said, none of them get any help keeping track of Kanchong from the archdiocese.

Kanchong, 68, was assigned to St. Margaret Church in Dorchester from 1977 until 1983. He was suspended that year after MacPherson’s parents filed a complaint in Dorchester District Court that the priest had tried to rape their daughter and had sexually molested her.

Church records show Cardinal Bernard Law tried to get Kanchong sent back to Thailand in 1984, but Kanchong didn’t go.

This week an archdiocese spokeswoman said local church authorities can’t take further action against Kanchong because he’s ordained through his home diocese in Thailand.

Kanchong is also a licensed practical nurse, according to the state Division of Professional Licensure. MacPherson said it sickens her to think of Kanchong working with vulnerable people, including mentally retarded and elderly patients.

“The church just cut him loose,” MacPherson said. “We are the only ones watching him now.”

Archdiocese spokeswoman Ann Carter said that’s not accurate. She said the Archdiocese informed “civil authorities” about Kanchong in 2003 about “the possibility that (he) was or had been working in the healthcare field in Boston.”

Lane Lambert may be reached at


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