Norwell Pastor Accused of Misconduct with Children
By Patrick Ronan
The Patriot Ledger
October 29, 2012
NORWELL --The pastor at a Catholic church in Norwell has taken a leave of absence following an allegation of inappropriate behavior with children.
The Rev. Thomas H. Maguire, the pastor at St. Helen’s Church on Route 53 in Norwell, voluntarily left the church after the accusation surfaced, the Archdiocese of Boston announced Sunday.
Norwell Police Chief Ted Ross said the alleged incident involving Maguire occurred within the past week.
“Norwell police and the (Plymouth County) district attorney’s office are aware of the allegation, and we’re looking into it at this time,” Ross said.
Officials did not specify the exact nature of the incident, except that it was misconduct involving minors. However, at the end of a press release addressing the matter, Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the Boston archdiocese, said the archdiocese continues to make counseling and other services available to survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
Last year, the archdiocese released a list of 157 Catholic priests and two deacons who were either confirmed or accused of sexually abusing children. The Rev. Maguire was not on that list.
“We are committed to the protection of children and young people in our parishes and institutions,” Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley wrote in the press release.
The archdiocese said it immediately notified police after learning of the accusation against the Rev. Maguire.
“The decision regarding administrative leave represents the archdiocese’s commitment to the welfare of all parties and does not represent a determination of Father Maguire’s guilt or innocence as it pertains to this allegation,” the archdiocese said.
The Rev. Maguire, pastor at St. Helen’s since 2001, has been an outspoken critic of the Archdiocese of Boston for its handling of the sex abuse scandal. During a sermon in 2002, he called on former Cardinal Bernard Law to resign.
In 2005, he blamed the sex abuse scandal for declining Mass attendance. “There’s a residue of anxiety and distrust towards the (church) hierarchy,” he said at the time.