Ex-Gloucester Pastor Removed from Priesthood

By Tom Dalton
Gloucester Daily Times
February 11, 2011

A former Gloucester pastor who was sentenced to jail on sex charges seven years ago has been removed from the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI, the Archdiocese of Boston announced Friday.

The Rev. Frederick Guthrie, wo served as pastor of St. Ann's Church in Gloucester from 1995 to 2001, was stripped of his right to serve as a priest.

Guthrie, now in his mid-70s, and two other Catholic priests "sought, through a voluntary process, to be removed from the clerical state," the archdiocese said. "As a result of the Holy See's decisions, they may no longer function in any capacity as priests, with the exception of offering absolution to the dying."

Guthrie, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Salem from 1985 to 1995, was sentenced to three months in jail in 2004 after soliciting sex from a Nashua, N.H., police officer posing online as a 15-year-old boy.

The priest was arrested in November 2001 after arriving for a meeting at an ice cream parlor in Nashua.

The priest pleaded guilty to misusing a computer and, at his sentencing, denied he sought sex from the "boy." After saying he planned only to counsel the youth, a judge replied: "That's not what those e-mails show me."

Guthrie had been drinking while chatting online, his lawyer said.

In that New Hampshire investigation, police seized Guthrie's home computer, which led to child pornography charges being brought against him in Massachusetts.

A priest for more than 40 years, Guthrie took a leave in July 2001, the archdiocese said. Following his arrest four months later, he was restricted from public ministry.

Two other priests, both of whom faced sex charges with minors, also were returned to lay status by the pope. Neither of them, however, had served on the North Shore.

The Rev. Frederick J. Cartier, ordained in 1963, was accused of sexually abusing a minor in the early 1970s. By the time the accusation was made in 2002, Cartier had been out of the priesthood for more than 20 years, the archdiocese said. He was granted a leave of absence in 1979 and left the archdiocese "without permission" the following year.

The Rev. Louis J. Govoni, ordained in 1972, was accused in 2002 of sexually abusing a minor in the mid-1970s. He has been "absent without permission" since 1978, according to the archdiocese.

Staff writer Tom Dalton may be contacted at

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