Woman Challenges Man Running Sex Abuse Press Conference outside Haverhill Church
By Jill Harmacinski
May 19, 2016
The Rev. Arnold Kelley is accused of sexually abusing a boy at a Boston area church in the 1970s — but not at All Saints Parish in Haverhill, where he mostly recently lived before retiring and going into a nursing home.
This made All Saints parishioner Kathleen Parker question why a recent civil sex abuse lawsuit against Kelley was being discussed with the media late Wednesday morning on a public sidewalk outside her church at 120 Bellevue Ave.
"I find it quite offensive," said Parker, who asked Robert Hoatson, the leader of a sexual abuse recovery organization, why he felt it necessary "to defame our happy home."
Parker said her family has also been touched by the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, but for "the better part of 20 years we have found a home" and "healing" at All Saints, she said.
"Father Kelley doesn't live here," said Parker, adding the priest in now in his 80s, retired and lives at Mary Immaculate nursing home in Lawrence where he is in failing health.
All Saints parishioners still send him holiday cards and letters of support, she said.
"I think you should be ashamed of yourself for having this (press conference) here ... This is my parish and I feel compelled to defend it," Parker said.
Hoatson of Road to Recovery, a non-profit group that has helped 4,000 sexual abuse victims since 2002, spoke about the lawsuit filed by Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian against Kelley.
The suit says Kelley abused the boy from 1973 to 1976 when he was a priest at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain.
The Boston Archdiocese was made aware of an allegation of sexual abuse against Kelley in 1997, said Hoatson, who is a former Roman Catholic priest. In addition to St. Thomas Aquinas, Kelley was also assigned to St. Rita's in Lowell. When living at the All Saints Church rectory in recent years, he occassionally said weekend Masses.
"Once again, this is another failure by the Archdiocese of Boston to properly investigate," Hoatson said.
A complete report will appear in Thursday's Eagle-Tribune.