Some Accused Priests on Jesuits’ List Played Key Roles at Cheverus
By Eric Russell and Megan Gray
January 15, 2019
The eight with ties to Maine include one who was the high school's athletic director and one who was its president.
|Brennan, Aux. Bishop Proulx and Rev. Dawber (on right) on June 8, 1982 Staff photo by Jack Milton|
Included in Tuesday’s release by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits of credibly accused priests are eight with ties to Maine. Information in this list was drawn from publicly available records, news reports and information provided by the Jesuits:
|William B. Cahill|
WILLIAM B. CAHILL
Cahill was a priest and teacher at Cheverus High School from 1950-1960. He also served as the school’s athletic director for part of that time.
Before his time in Maine, he worked at schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut. After he left Cheverus, Cahill had 10 additional placements, including at Boston College High School, and later as chaplain for Boston City Hospital.
Documents released in 2005 by the Maine Attorney General’s Office revealed that Cahill was accused of abusing at least three Cheverus students between 1950 and 1960.
It’s not known when those allegations were first made. He was never charged and died in 1986.
Dawber first came to Cheverus in 1978 and became the school’s president a year later. He served as president until 1984, then went on to Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, Massachusetts, followed by 12 years at Boston College High School. Dawber also had been at BC High from 1963 until 1977.
Dawber was accused of abusing three students during his first stint at BC High in the 1970s. Those allegations didn’t surface until 2002 as part of the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” investigation into the Catholic Church. He was suspended from the ministry but never charged.
Dawber spent the final seven years of his life at the Campion Health Center in Weston, Massachusetts, a Jesuit-run retreat that houses retired priests, including some who have been accused of abuse.
Dawber is connected to another priest who has been accused. He recommended that Cheverus hire James Talbot, with whom he taught at BC High. The Boston Globe later reported as part of its “Spotlight” investigation that Dawber was aware of Talbot’s abusive behavior. (See entry for Talbot below.)
|Joseph C. Dooley|
Dooley taught at Cheverus from 1954-1958. Before that, he was at BC High and then Fairfield Prep in Connecticut. He also returned to BC High in 1958 after leaving Cheverus, and stayed there until 1980.
He died in 1983.
Dooley was accused posthumously of abusing a minor in 1965 while he taught at BC High. The alleged victim was a girl from Cape Cod whose family was close to Dooley.
Another victim also alleged to the Maine Attorney General’s Office in 2002 that Dooley molested her in Portland, but no approximate dates were made public.
There were never any accusations against Dooley from his time at Cheverus.
|Joseph R. Laughlin|
According to information provided by the Jesuits, Laughlin served in Maine from 1977-1982 at St. Ann Mission, which is located on Passamaquoddy tribal land in Princeton.
The parish that oversees that church is part of the Portland Diocese, but it has been run by Jesuits for years.
Before his time in Maine, Laughlin worked at Fairfield Prep, BC High and at a parish in Middleboro, Massachusetts.
The allegation of abuse dates to 1975 or 1976 when he was at that Middleboro parish, shortly before he came to Maine.
However, that report wasn’t made until 1990, at which point Laughlin was restricted from public ministry.
This appears to be the first time that Laughlin has been publicly named.
He was living at the Campion Center when he died in 2013.
Orteneau worked at Cheverus in 1978 and 1979. He entered the order in 1972 but was not ordained until 1982, so he would have been a novice during his time in Maine.
He had previously worked at another high school in Massachusetts. Those placements were the only two included on the province’s list of accused priests, which does not document Orteneau’s placements after 1979. But news reports show Orteneau later worked at a Jesuit community in New York and then a parish in Connecticut.
Jesuit leaders removed Orteneau in 1994 from St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel in Storrs, Connecticut, but would not publicly say why. At the time, The Hartford Courant described the young priest as popular and reported that he kept a sleeping bag in his office for troubled teens who needed a place to stay. Orteneau was later accused of abusing as many as three boys during that time.
One victim, who was 16 years old at the time of the abuse, sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich and the Jesuits in 2005. The diocese ultimately paid a quarter of a $1.2 million settlement, while the remaining amount fell to the religious order.
It is not clear where Orteneau went when he left the Connecticut parish, but the Jesuits reported he left the order in 2003. An obituary stated that he died in 2009 in North Carolina at the age of 58.
|Richard H. Roos Press Herald file photo|
Roos is one of two priests on the Jesuit list who is still alive and has a connection to Maine.
Despite admitting to an abuse allegation, Roos appears to still be an ordained priest working in a Jesuit community in Massachusetts.
The time Roos spent at Cheverus was fragmented. He worked there from 1974-1978 and 1979-1980. It is not clear what he did immediately after leaving the Portland high school because the Jesuits reported his next placement as Jamaica in 1984. He worked there for a decade.
Roos is accused of abusing a minor in the 1980s, though it is not clear if that includes his time at Cheverus. The report was made in 2001, the same year Roos was restricted from public ministry. The province said he admitted to the abuse.
Before the report, Roos also had placements in Massachusetts at a high school and a retreat center. The Jesuit list does not identify where Roos has been since 2002, but a 2012 biography on the province website said he had worked as director of communications and information technology for the New England Province and as minister at another Massachusetts retreat center. At the time the biography was published, Roos was serving as minister of the Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community, where he collaborated on retreats for homeless men and celebrated Mass in prisons. The community is located on the Brighton campus of Boston College.
As of Tuesday, the main phone line at the community still listed Roos as the administrator. He did not immediately respond to a message left on his office line.
This appears to be the first time Roos has been publicly named.
|James Talbot Press Herald staff photo|
James Talbot spent nearly two decades at Cheverus. He is currently incarcerated for sexually abusing a boy in a Freeport parish in the 1990s.
Talbot worked at BC High from 1972 to 1980. He then transferred to Cheverus and remained there until 1998, when former student Michael Doherty came forward to say that Talbot had abused him in the mid-1980s.
Talbot was fired from the school about two months after the accusations were brought to the bishop, and Doherty settled a lawsuit in 2001. His case prompted others to come forward, and by 2003, 14 men had settled lawsuits totaling more than $5.2 million.
In 2005, Talbot pleaded guilty to raping two students decades before in Boston. He served six years in prison in Massachusetts and then was living at a Jesuit facility for troubled or former priests in Missouri. He was laicized in 2013.
Two years ago, Talbot was charged again in Maine based on the allegations from a boy who met the former priest at St. Jude Church in Freeport. He pleaded guilty and is now serving a three-year prison sentence in the Maine State Prison.
The Jesuit list released Tuesday notes that Talbot is incarcerated but does not mention his earlier conviction or his work at St. Jude.
JAMES P. WALSH
Walsh spent a decade in various placements in Portland.
He worked at Cheverus between 1970 and 1972, and then again between 1977 and 1979. News reports from the time say he was hired to be a guidance counselor. His assignment is listed as “retreats” in Portland between 1973 and 1976. His final job in Portland was at Sacred Heart Parish from 1979 to 1980.
Walsh then returned to BC High, where he had worked years before. The alleged abuse took place during his time there in 1984 and 1985. The Jesuits received reports of that abuse in 2002 and 2004. Walsh was removed from active ministry in 2002 and died in 2009.
It is unclear from the list where Walsh was in the nine years between the end of his job at Boston College High School in 1993 and his removal from ministry in 2002. An obituary from 2009 stated he lived in Weston, and his funeral took place at the Campion Center there.
This appears to be the first time Walsh has been publicly named.