|Priest Sex Scandal Expands: Seven Newly Named Worked in Area Churches
By Adam D. Krauss
Foster's Daily Democrat
March 28, 2009
DOVER — Seven of the 26 accused clergy members identified in recently released files by the Attorney General's Office worked in Seacoast churches.
The cases originated out of Somersworth, Rollinsford, Rochester, Exeter and either Ossipee or Effingham, with the 879 pages also detailing allegations of sexual abuse against previously accused priests. One report involved a Massachusetts priest accused of abuse while in Alton.
The allegations span several decades, with several local cases originating between the 1960s and 1970s and taking place inside churches, homes and a golf course, according to case descriptions and e-mail correspondence.
None of the accused Seacoast clergy members were ever charged by authorities, either because they're deceased or the alleged crimes' statute of limitations expired, said Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker.
In some cases, case information is redacted when allegations against ushers or youth ministers were deemed unsubstantiated, he said.
BishopAccountability.org — a Massachusetts-based group that says it is committed to giving a full accounting of alleged abuse — posted the documents online and says it could spur more victims to come forward. It says the files show why the statute of limitations on reporting such abuse should be reformed.
The group charged that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester cannot be trusted to report the true scope of clergy sexual abuse.
Kevin Donovan, the diocese spokesman, said "these documents indicate the scope of our commitment to a healthy and continuing relationship with the state to ensure the safety of children."
He said every report of alleged abuse is reported, no matter how long ago it took place. He said a cleric is temporarily removed during the course of an investigation and, if charges are found to be true, faces permanent removal.
The files were released following Right-to-Know requests and after the state's final audit of the diocese. Under a 2002 agreement, the diocese agreed to report all abuse allegations to the Attorney General's Office and remove accused clergy members from their jobs. The state says the diocese is handling cases appropriately.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.