School Psychologist Placed on Leave over Abuse Allegations

By Christian Schiavone
MetroWest Daily News
June 17, 2011

A school psychologist at Silver Lake Regional High School has been placed on leave after school officials learned he had been named in a civil suit that accused him of abusing minors decades ago while a priest.

School Superintendent John Tuffy said that officials placed Robert F. Daly on paid leave on Wednesday, the same day they learned from a newspaper article that Daly had been accused in a law suit of abusing children in the 1970s and ’80s.

Tuffy said school officials were unaware of any accusations against Daly, who was hired by the school district in 2001, and that there have been no complaints about him during his time working for the district, which includes Kingston, Plympton and Halifax.

But he said officials decided to place Daly, who was planning to retire at the end of the year, on leave until he officially retires at the end of the school year on Monday.

“Given what was in the paper and the allegations made, we thought it was best that he just go home,” Daly said, adding that the news “came as a shock” to the faculty.

Daly could not be reached for comment.

Daly was ordained in 1967 but hasn’t been allowed to work as a priest since 1984 when he took a leave of absence. During his time as a priest, he worked at St. Jerome’s in North Weymouth, St. Patrick’s in Brockton and parishes in Charlestown and Readville, according to official church records posted on the website of the watchdog group Bishop

In 2005, he was named in a lawsuit along with 16 other priests, three lay employees of the archdioceses and high-ranking church officials filed by 25 people who said they had been sexually abused.

Carmen Durso, a Boston attorney who represented the plaintiffs, said they all settled their claims through the archdiocese’s arbitration process. Records from those proceeding are not public.

It wasn’t until the archdiocese announced on Tuesday that Daly, at his own request, had been defrocked that school officials learned about Daly’s past, Tuffy said.

Tuffy said much of Daly’s job involved doing assessments of whether students required special education support and developing specialized education plans for the ones that did.

“I do believe that if people had had concerns about something it would have surfaced by now,” Tuffy said. “Over the last many years, parents, students and staff have all come to be more vigilant and more concerned about anything that doesn’t look right or feel right.”

School committee Vice Chairman John Creed, who is a former priest, said he was in the same class with Daly at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, but did not know he worked at the Silver Lake schools.

“I didn’t know that he worked here. If I did know he was on the list (of accused priests), I would have brought it to the attention of somebody and let them do what they do,” said Creed, who left the priesthood in 1981. “I would have at least let them do an investigation.”


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