Priest convicted of 1980s child rapes in Ipswich dies

By Julie Manganis
Salem News
April 08, 2020

Mark Lorenz/Boston Globe pool photoRichard J. McCormick, a Salesian priest, during his sentencing in 2014 at Lawrence Superior Court on charges of raping two boys at a summer camp in Ipswich in the 1980s. McCormick has died along with two other inmates, following an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Bridgewater state treatment center.
Photo by Mark Lorenz

IPSWICH — A retired Catholic priest serving an eight- to 10-year prison term for sexually abusing two boys at an Ipswich summer camp in the 1980s has died, state officials confirmed Wednesday.

Rev. Richard McCormick, 79, was serving his sentence at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater, where, according to the Department of Corrections, an outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the deaths of three inmates.

One of those inmates has been described as a man in his 70s who was taken to a hospital after suffering a stroke and who tested positive for COVID-19 following his death. A statement released by the DOC said the inmate had been in state custody since 2014 and at the treatment center since 2016. 

But a DOC spokesman said that due to the medical privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, he could not confirm the specific identity of the inmate. 

McCormick was convicted at trial in 2014 of five counts of child rape involving a boy who attended a summer camp for underprivileged children at the site of the former Sacred Heart Retreat in Ipswich in the early 1980s. He subsequently received a second state prison term after pleading guilty to raping another boy at the same camp in the early 1980s.

The victim, now in his 40s, came forward after realizing that the priest he knew as "Father Dick" was actually McCormick, after seeing his name and photo in an online directory of priests.

McCormick had been the provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco, a Catholic order based in New Rochelle, New York, where he was arrested in 2012, following his indictment in the case. 

The position of provincial has been described as the equivalent of a bishop in a Catholic archdiocese. 

McCormick faced more than a dozen other allegations of sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior around the country. 

McCormick's attorney, Stephen Neyman, could not be reached for comment.



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