Sex Abuse Allegations Unfounded against Former St. Mary's Priest , Archdiocese Says

By Jennifer Brown Bonniwell
Wicked Local Winchester
April 30, 2012

The Archdiocese of Boston has completed its internal investigation of sexual abuse of a minor by former St. Mary's of Winchester Rev. John M. Mendicoa and has determined the allegation to be unsubstantiated, the Archdiocese said Monday.

Mendicoa was placed on administrative leave in August 2011, after the Archdiocese received an allegation of sexual abuse of a child. Mendicoa is no longer on administrative leave and has now been assigned the status of senior priest, restricted, the Archdiocese said in a statement. The status is equivalent to retirement.

The allegation concerned conduct alleged to have occurred in the 1980s. Mendicoa was a pastor at St. Mary's in Winchester from 1986 to 1994 and at St. Michael's in Lowell from 1982 to 1986. The Archdiocese declined to say if the incident occurred in Winchester or Lowell or any further details about the victim, citing internal policy.

"He's a deeply spiritual man and that was why we were all so shocked [by the allegation]," said Rev. Richard Messina, of St. Mary's. "I'm just thrilled for him."

The Middlesex County District Attorney's Office investigated the allegation but determined that the statute of limitations barred any prosecution, according to a spokeswoman.

No legal claim was made related to the incident, said Archdiocese spokeswoman Kellyanne Dignan.

Since 1997, Mendicoa has been a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Roslindale.

Mendicoa regularly visits St. Mary's and has talked to Messina since the allegation surfaced.

"Even in this crisis, he said he was looking at this as a gift from God because it gave him time to pray," Messina said Monday. "That is the kind of man he is, that he could look at this as a gift from God."









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