Former Pastor of Lynn Parish Found Guilty of Abuse by Church Court
By Marie Szaniszlo
September 10, 2020
The former pastor of a Lynn parish has been found guilty of child abuse by a Roman Catholic judicial court and sentenced to “a life of prayer and penance,” the Boston Archdiocese said Thursday.
The Rev. James Gaudreau, former pastor of St. Joseph parish, is not permitted to exercise any public ministry or celebrate public Mass. He may not provide spiritual direction, may not wear clerical attire and cannot function in any manner as a priest, according to the archdiocese.
“He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct,” said Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
Gaudreau, 77, was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 23, 2012, for an allegation that was reported to have occurred in 2006 with a minor.
The Archdiocese immediately notified police, Donilon said, but there was no prosecution, and no civil lawsuits were filed.
The Vatican decides where judicial proceedings are to be heard. For various reasons, including conflict of interest and case load, his case was heard and adjudicated in the Diocese of Brooklyn judicial court, which sentenced him to a life of prayer and penance, Donilon said.
Gaudreau’s appeal was heard and denied by the Vatican Dicastery of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees cases of sexual abuse of minors, he said.
Under church law, until Gaudreau is no longer a priest because he dies or is laicized, “we are obligated to provide food, shelter and healthcare,” for him, Donilon said. “It comes from accounts designated for clergy abuse and is accounted for in our annual report. It does not come from parish funds or parish donations.”
Tim Lennon, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said it was good that the archdiocese reported the allegation to police.
“But their continued support seems to say there’s no accountability for abusing a child or minor,” according to Lennon, who said he was raped by a priest when he was 12.
Gaudreau was ordained a priest in 1969 and was assigned to St. Patrick parish in Roxbury and later St. Rose of Lima parish in Chelsea. He was at St. Joseph in Lynn since 1983 and pastor since 1993.
Through its Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, the archdiocese continues to make counseling and other services available to survivors, their families and parishes impacted by clergy sexual abuse and by allegations of abuse by members of the clergy.