Accuser's Brother Testifies at Hingham Priest Trial

By Gloria Negri
Boston Globe
September 24, 1993

A brother of a 27-year-old man who alleges he was raped by a Catholic priest 13 years ago testified yesterday that he also had been sexually molested by the priest during ski trips he took alone with him to his vacation home in Vermont.

The brother, now 25 and a sergeant in the Army stationed in South Korea, said he was "between the age of 12 and 13" when he first accompanied Rev. John R. Hanlon on what was to have been a ski trip.

Father Hanlon, 65, is on leave as pastor of St. Paul's Church in Hingham and was assigned to St. Mary's Church in Plymouth when the offenses allegedly took place in 1980, 1981 and 1982.

On the first night, the 25-year-old brother said, Father Hanlon told him to remove his sweat pants and underwear and then got into bed with him naked. "He said he was cold," the man said.

Under questioning by prosecutor Geline Williams, the man said that after the priest fell asleep, he moved into another bed in the same room only to have Father Hanlon awaken and get into bed with him. He said a similar sexual contact took place the next night and during the 10 or 12 ski trips he made to Vermont with the priest over the next five years. The man said he never spoke of the incidents to his parents or his two brothers. "I was afraid and ashamed," he said.

"During the night it was something else," the man said, referring to Father Hanlon's behavior. "During the day he was a totally different person, you know, someone you could look up to, took care of you. At night he turned into a monster."

A third brother, now 21, testified that he accompanied Father Hanlon to Vermont when he was 15 and that the priest also told him to remove his sweatpants and tried to sodomize him. The youngest brother said he never returned to Vermont with Father Hanlon.

Yesterday, J. Albert Johnson, attorney for Father Hanlon, said he had not decided whether the priest would testify.

Many of Father Hanlon's present and former parishioners and his family were among court spectators.

Before the two brothers testified, Superior Court Judge Richard G. Stearns instructed the jury that Father Hanlon was not charged with any offenses against the two men and that their testimony was offered to illustrate the relationship between their family and the priest. All three brothers once served as altar boys at Hanlon's Plymouth church.

In cross-examination yesterday, Johnson again questioned the alleged rape victim about his troubled relationship with his own father and whether his memory "had been affected by the fact you were having hallucinations." The man acknowledged that he "probably did" mention to a psychiatrist that he was having hallucinations at one time.

But he denied a suggestion by Johnson that he "intended to bring a lawsuit against the Catholic church."


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