Update from the Archdiocese of Boston Relating to Accused Irish Priests

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston
January 27, 2010

Braintree, MA -- In response to the tragic news from Ireland, and the recent publication of names of Irish-born priests accused of sexual misconduct and served in the United States, the Archdiocese of Boston today provided the following information:

"Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Ireland who have been harmed by the tragic reality of sexual abuse of children by clergy. We know from our own experience the profound impact and suffering caused by the harm perpetrated on children and young people. Over the past decade, we have worked diligently to respond to this crisis and ensure it is never repeated. We remain committed to doing everything in our power to protect children from the threat of sexual abuse.

Among our comprehensive policies and procedures in place to assure the protection of children, we immediately notify law enforcement of all allegations received and publicly disclose, through press releases and Archdiocesan web site postings, when an accused priest is removed from active ministry or convicted, either criminally or canonically. Furthermore, prior to any priest from another jurisdiction being granted faculties to serve in the Archdiocese of Boston, Archdiocesan officials receive assurances from the priest's Bishop that the priest is fit for ministry and specifically confirms that he has not been the subject of any allegation of any inappropriate behavior concerning children.

Based on a review of Archdiocesan records, no priest on's list of accused Irish-born priests currently has faculties in Boston. Of the 70 names published, our records show that only three priests (Brendan Smyth, Joseph Maguire, and Dennis Murphy) ever had faculties in the Boston Archdiocese. A review of our records also shows that, at the time these faculties were granted, we were not aware of any accusations having been made against these priests. Based on our research, none of these three priests was the subject of an allegation here in the Archdiocese of Boston.

There is one instance of an Irish priest allegedly abusing a child here in the Archdiocese and that case remains under investigation. The abuse was alleged to have occurred approximately thirty years ago. As is our practice whenever we receive an allegation, we immediately notified law enforcement about this complaint. We also notified the priest's religious order.

As the news from Ireland continues to unfold, we recognize that the revelations may serve as a painful reminder of the wounds many survivors carry. We invite any individual who has been harmed by clergy sexual abuse to contact our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach for support."


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