|Archdiocese Clears Priest of Sex-abuse Charge
November 18, 2011
A canonical court of the Archdiocese of Boston found an allegation that the Rev. Victor LaVoie sexually abused a minor more than 20 years ago was “not proven.”
The archdiocese announced the ruling yesterday, nine years after the allegation was brought against LaVoie.
“Father LaVoie has been granted senior priest retirement status,” Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the Archdiocese, said. He will be allowed to serve only as a priest to his own family, unless he receives special permission.
LaVoie, 67, was pastor at St. Eulalia Church in Winchester from 1995 until January 2002, when he was placed on administrative leave because of the allegation.
The case never went to court because the statute of limitations had lapsed, according to Cara O’Brien, spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney.
Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who handled numerous sex abuse charges against priests, said he does not believe the archdiocese should be deciding cases involving priests.
“The guilt or innocence should be determined by an independent panel or the court,” he said. “When the archdiocese makes a self-determination, they cannot be neutral.”
But St. Eulalia parishioners were happy about the news.
“I didn’t believe that he was guilty,” Pat Waterman of Arlington said. “But I don’t understand why it took so long to make a decision.”
Now, Waterman said she hopes her church can move past the scandal.
“It’s time for forgiveness and healing in the Catholic Church,” she said.
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