Late Brookline Friar Accused of Sex Abuse

By Teddy Applebaum
Wicked Local Brookline
April 18, 2012

Brookline — A deceased cleric who ended his career at a friary in Brookline nearly 60 years ago was one of six church leaders accused of sexual abuse last week.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the Rev. Leonard Walsh, who worked at the friary on Rawson Road from 1950-54, abused his client, a 9-year-old Brookline boy, for four months in 1953.

Garabedian said the Franciscans agreed to pay an unspecified six-figure settlement to the man, who still lives in Massachusetts.

Before he came to Brookline, Walsh worked in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. He died in 1954.

"The Franciscans found my client to be credible and settled his claim," Garabedian said.

Garabedian said his client came to him earlier this year with his story. The client told him he'd originally gone to confession at the friary because he wanted to get out of playing piano on Saturdays. The client said the abuse began on the second visit, and continued until he got the nerve to stop going over.

"Father Walsh led him into the office space and they talked for a while and my client was sexually abused," Garabedian said. "Each time Father Walsh would say to my client, 'See you next Saturday.'"

A spokesperson for the regional branch of the Franciscans declined to comment on the case or settlement.

Walsh was one of six church leaders Garabedian added to a list of the 129 accused officials. All but one of the six is dead. Garabedian said he'd reached five- to six-figure settlements in each instance.

The new names are just the latest in an ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal that's rocked the church community for decades. Garabedian said the Boston Archdiocese would have approved Walsh's post in Brookline.

"This is another example of church supervisors…turning their backs on innocent helpless children," he said. "They're just throwing money at an issue hoping that it will go away. But the issue is much to large to go away."



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