Cleared Once, Catholic Priest Faces New Sex Abuse Allegations

By Martin Finucane
Boston Globe
September 8, 2010

Rev. Thomas M. Curran

A Catholic priest who had been cleared of allegations of child sexual abuse is facing new ones and has been barred from any ministry, the Archdiocese of Boston announced today.

The Rev. Thomas M. Curran, 65, was placed on administrative leave from 2002 to 2007 following the previous allegations. In 2007, he was placed in permanent disability status, which allowed him to celebrate only the sacraments with his family.

Until the new allegations, which date to the 1970s and ’80s, are investigated, Curran will be barred from any ministry, including with his family, the archdiocese said in a statement. It did not disclose other details about the new allegations.

Kelly Lynch, archdiocesan spokeswoman, said church officials notified the attorney general’s office and the Middlesex district attorney’s office. She said the church would investigate internally.

A spokesman for the DA's office said it could not be immediately determined tonight whether the matter is being investigated.

‘‘It is with great sadness that we announce these additional allegations of sexual abuse,’’ Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said in a statement. ‘‘As new information and accusations emerge, we again experience the painful reality of this crisis. While this news is difficult and troubling for us all to receive, it underscores the importance of our ongoing efforts to diligently respond to allegations and strengthens our ardent commitment to safeguard children.’’

O’Malley asked anyone who needs assistance to contact the archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach.

In 2002, a prison inmate accused Curran of rape. The inmate, who was serving time for raping a young boy, alleged that the priest raped him in the 1970s and introduced him to another figure in the clergy abuse scandal, Paul M. Shanley, a former priest convicted of abuse.

Curran denied the charges, telling the Globe in 2003, ‘‘None of it is true,’’ and lamenting that ‘‘some psychopath from a prison’’ would get him thrown out of the ministry. He was cleared by the archdiocese in 2007.

‘‘This case shows, yet again, how extraordinarily flawed so-called church ‘investigations’ into child sex reports are,’’ David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement. ‘‘Catholics, citizens and cops should be extremely skeptical when Catholic officials claim they have ‘cleared’ an accused pedophile priest.’’

Lynch said Curran had served at St. Mary’s in Cambridge, Boston State College, St. Catherine of Genoa in Somerville, Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham, MCI-Concord, St. John’s in Cambridge, St. Joseph’s in Belmont, Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere, and Christ the King and St. Michael’s Parish, both in Hudson.

She would not disclose where he lives.


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