Accuser Testifies about Abuse at Hands of the Rev. Richard Mccormick
By Julie Manganis
November 6, 2014
It’s been more than three decades, but the memories still come in what a prosecutor described as sharp little pieces: the sudden, unexpected kiss during a visit to the priest’s office, the nights he was woken and led to an office and forced to sit on the priest’s lap, the physical pain and emotional confusion.
The Rev. Richard McCormick told the boy that it was all an expression of love, his accuser told a Lawrence Superior Court jury Wednesday. The man he knew only as “Father Dick” told him “the church loves you, I love you, we’re one big family,” his accuser, now a 44-year-old man, testified.
McCormick, 73, is charged with five counts of child rape in incidents dating back to the early 1980s, though the timeline has grown muddy, partly due to the way the accuser now recalls the incidents, out of sequence in short vignettes, and partly due to confusion stemming from a therapist’s notes that suggested the abuse started as early as 1979.
It’s that confusion over the timeline — whether the abuse started in 1979, when the accuser was 9, or in 1981, when he was 11 — that McCormick’s lawyer is pointing to when urging a jury to conclude that it was not McCormick who abused the boy.
“My client didn’t do it,” defense lawyer Stephen Neyman said. “He’s not going to admit to something he didn’t do.”
But the accuser is certain. He testified that “Father Dick” looked like actor Alan Alda, so much so that the accuser could never bring himself to watch the TV series “MASH.” Alda was the popular star of the television show at the time.
The accuser told jurors about growing up poor in a housing project with a father largely absent and his mother, a devout Catholic, working as many as three jobs to pay for her children to attend parochial school.
“My mom is the strongest woman I know,” he testified.
There wasn’t any money for extras, said prosecutor Kate MacDougall in her opening statement to jurors. So, when his mother announced that he and his brothers were going to summer camp, it seemed unimaginable.