One Survivor’s Story: Falmouth Resident Shares Story of Abuse
By Sarah Murphy
Wicked Local Falmouth
February 19, 2019
This story is the first in a three-part series for The Bulletin.
Dan Sherwood was nine-years-old when he became an altar boy at St. Anthony’s Church. The experience would prove to be life-changing.
The West Falmouth resident, along with a co-plaintiff, settled a lawsuit last October alleging nearly a decade of sexual abuse by the late Monsignor Maurice Souza. According to the suit, the abuse began in the late 1970s, when they were nine and ten, and continued until Souza’s retirement in 1986, when they were 17.
Daniel Cronin, former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River, was named the defendant for failing to oversee Souza during his tenure. Cronin appointed Souza to St. Anthony’s in 1977.
Cronin, 91, would go on to become Archbishop of Hartford following a 1991 appointment by Pope John Paul II. He retired in 2003.
According to the suit, Cronin “knew or should have known about the abuse,” and as part of the settlement, Cronin neither admitted nor denied the allegations of abuse.
The plaintiffs each received a $200,000 settlement, but Dan believes Souza not only stole his childhood, but he also jeopardized his future.
Dan met Souza shortly after he moved to Falmouth in 1977 with his mother and two older sisters. He started fourth grade at Teaticket Elementary School and proudly became an altar boy at St. Anthony’s. He and Souza shared a love of sports, particularly baseball, and Dan soon found himself invited to professional sporting events as Souza’s guest. Many times, he was Souza’s sole companion.