Priest, who worked in Bellingham and Hudson in the 1950s and 1970s, was named in child sex abuse settlement

By Alison Bosma
MetroWest Daily News
September 15, 2020

Three former priests associated with the Archdiocese of Boston, including one who worked in churches in Hudson and Bellingham, were named in child sexual abuse settlements reached earlier this year.

“Our clients want to know why the supervisors were not properly supervising,” said Boston-based attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who announced the settlements this week, “and why those supervisors have not been held accountable for allowing innocent children to be sexually abused.”

All three are accused of molesting children who were parishioners, on church property, in the late 1950s, and late 1970s. At least two of them are dead, according to documents provided by Garabedian, but all three continued to work under the Archdiocese of Boston after the alleged abuse.

The Rev. Sylvio Ruest was accused of molesting a 13- or 14-year-old boy while assigned to Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Bellingham between 1957 and 1958. He previously worked in three other Massachusetts churches, including St. Ann’s Church in Salem; St. Louis Church in Lowell; and Christ the King Church in Hudson, according to documents provided by Garbedian.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Boston said the organization makes it a practice not to comment on legal proceedings, but that settlements are included in annual reports, published on the Archdiocese's website.

“It takes a lot of courage for clergy sexual abuse victims to come forward,” Garabedian said. “In doing so, clergy sexual abuse victims are making the world a safer place for children, and empowering themselves and other victims.”

The victims are not named.

Garabedian represented victims in the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal uncovered by The Boston Globe in 2002. In the 2015 movie about the reporting behind that story, “Spotlight,” actor Stanley Tucci played Garabedian.

Ruest died in 1969, and the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Bellingham closed in 2006. The Hudson church where Ruest was assigned closed in 2005.

The other two priests named in the settlements were the Rev. John Salvucci, who is accused of molesting a teenager between 1977 and 1979 while assigned to St. Mary’s Church in Billerica, and the Rev. T. Raymond Sullivan, accused of molesting a 14-year-old in 1977 while assigned to St. Therese’s Church in Dracut.

All three are accused of sexual abuse to the child in question on more than one occasion.

Garabedian declined to release settlement numbers, but he did say the victims of Ruest and Salvucci received claims in the high five figures, while the victim of Sullivan received a claim in the low five figures.

The cases were settled out of court in January and February, and at least two used a private mediation firm.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.