Boston Hit with New Lawsuits

Providence Journal-Bulletin [Rhode Island]
January 30, 2003
[Note: This is the correct date. The date in the file name is incorrect.]

* The suits name 13 additional priests who had not been named before, at least 3 of whom are still in active ministry.

* * *

Boston (AP) - The Boston archdiocese, already staggering under the burden of hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits, was named in 70 more claims yesterday, including new charges that several priests abused the same victims. The lawsuits filed by lawyer Mitchell Garabedian bring the number of outstanding cases against the archdiocese to about 470. They name 13 additional priests who had not been named before, at least 3 of whom are still in active ministry.

They also charge negligence against Bishop Daniel Hart of Norwich, Conn.,

and Archbishop Daniel Cronin of Hartford, Conn., both former supervisors in the Boston archdiocese who had not been named in previous suits. The Rev. Christopher Coyne, who is a spokesman for the archdiocese, said that the archdiocese has just begun reviewing the lawsuits and had no immediate comment.

Plaintiffs' lawyers estimate that it could cost at least $100 million to settle all the pending suits. Since being installed in December as interim leader of the Boston archdiocese, Bishop Lennon has said it is a priority to settle the lawsuits.

One of the plaintiffs in yesterday's filing, Scott Montesano, 40, of Salem, said that it took him years to come forward because of the shame he felt. Montesano alleges that the Rev. Guido Caverzan molested him while he was an altar boy at St. Lazarus' Parish in East Boston.

Father Caverzan's address was unknown and he couldn't be reached for comment.

The suits allege three instances in which the same alleged victim was abused by two different priests. In one instance, the Rev. Daniel Graham allegedly abused a teenage boy, then introduced him to the Rev. Robert Towner. The suit alleges that Father Towner raped the victim while Father Graham watched, then both priests molested him.

Father Graham was suspended from St. Joseph's Church in Quincy in February following different allegations and could not be reached for comment. Father Towner left the priesthood in 1990, and a phone number could not be found for him.

At least 8 of the 13 priests named for the first time in yesterday's suit are deceased. Three are still active: the Rev. Edmund Charest, who works in the archdiocese's Clergy Personnel Office, the Rev. Edward Keohan of St. Mary's in Salem, which was recently closed; and the Rev. Edward Sherry of the Nativity Parish in Merrimac. The Rev. John Flynn is retired and works at the Regina Cleri retirement home in Boston.

Father Flynn, who is accused of molesting a 6-year-old girl at St. Paul's in Wellesley, told the Associated Press the charge is "absolutely not true." "I don't know what whoever accused me is talking about. It's crazy. I'm quite hacked off about the whole thing. ... I think they're being careless and they're accusing people who haven't got the slightest degree of guilt." The suits allege negligence by various supervisors of the abusive priests for failing to protect the victims.

Also yesterday, a lawyer with a Boston firm representing about 240 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse said that Boston archdiocese attorneys have agreed to provide records on 41 priests accused of sexual misconduct with adults.

Attorney Jeffrey Newman said he'll use the records to try to establish that Cardinal Bernard Law and other church officials routinely reassigned accused priests to new parishes or other church-related work.


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