Retired Rev. Richard McCormick, serving time for sexual abuse, named in civil suit

By Julie Manganis
Salem News
March 22, 2015

IPSWICH — A North Shore man who was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest while attending a summer camp in Ipswich in the early 1980s has now filed a civil suit. 

The suit, filed last month, seeks damages from the retired Rev. Richard McCormick, 73, for assault, battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. 

The victim is identified in court papers as “John Doe,” but his attorney confirmed that it is the same victim who testified against McCormick during his criminal trial last year.

It comes three months after McCormick, a member of the Salesian order of priests, was sentenced to eight to 10 years in state prison following his conviction for raping the same victim back in the early 1980s at the former Sacred Heart Retreat in Ipswich.

That’s where the victim and his brothers were sent, for several years, to a summer camp run by the Salesians. 

The victim, in emotional testimony last fall, recounted how his mother, a devout Catholic, trusted the priests to care for her sons. 

He testified that his excitement at getting out of the housing projects where he grew up turned to dread when “Father Dick” began summoning him to a private office, and then a cleaning closet, and molesting him.

The man testified that decades passed before he managed to identify his assailant as McCormick. While poring over an online priest directory during a slow night at work, he found a photo of McCormick. 

The man described the impact his abuse had on all aspects of his life, including the loss of his faith, difficulty in relationships and signs of trauma, such as not wanting anyone to touch his face, as McCormick had done.

After McCormick was charged and indicted, a second man came forward and alleged that McCormick also abused him. McCormick was found guilty following a jury trial. He is now serving his prison term at MCI Gardner, a medium security facility in the central part of the state. 

The civil suit was brought by attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who attended part of McCormick’s criminal trial last fall. 

In a statement, Garabedian said, “By filing a civil complaint, my client continues to show an enormous amount of courage against the Salesians, Father Richard J. McCormick ... and supervisors who failed to protect innocent children for years and years.”

McCormick, who had a private attorney in his first criminal trial, is now represented by a court-appointed lawyer after being deemed indigent earlier this year. It is not clear who, if anyone, will represent McCormick in the civil case.



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