Three Clergy with Chelmsford Ties on List of Accused Priests

By Krista Perry and John Castelluccio
The Patch
September 1, 2011

The Boston Archdiocese released an official list late last week with the names of 159 priests involved in cases of the sexual abuse of children. Three clergy members who served in Chelmsford were included.

Three clergymen with ties to Chelmsford were named in the list of clergy accused of sexually abusing children that was released by the Boston Catholic Archdiocese on Thursday.

The 159 names on the list aren't necessarily news in themselves, but it the first time the Church has officially released the information.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley explained in a letter that he chose to withhold the names of certain priests, however, particularly ones that were never publicly charged while they were alive.

Out of 248 priests and two deacons accused of child sex abuse since 1950, 91 names were not released. That group includes deceased priests who weren't publicly accused, priests working in Boston under religious orders or other dioceses and those named in unsubstantiated accusations that didn't go public.

O'Malley was quickly criticized by advocates for clergy abuse victims and Attorney General Martha Coakley for not going far enough and releasing those names as well.

The list last week was broken into five categories, A-E. Category "A" cases were those where the accused was found guilty either by the Church, the state or both, and was either dismissed from office or sentenced to a life of prayer and penance and/or faced criminal charges.

One Chelmsford clergyman was on that list: Robert E. Barrett, who served as a Parchoial Vicor at St. John the Evangelist from Sept. 1985 to June 1986. He took a health leave in 1995 and was assigned to a life of prayer and pennance in 2004. He died in 2008.

Paul J. Finegan, who served as Parochial Vicar at St. Mary's from June 1994 to June 1999 is considered a Category B priest in which the canon concluded the case by laicization.

Victor C. LaVoie served at St. Mary's Parish from June 1971 to March 1975. LaVoi is considered Category C, cases in which the priest is alive and allegations have been publicized but the canonical proceedings against the clergy have not yet been resolved. He last served at St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester before he was put on administrative leave in 2002

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