Priest's Name Removed from Site - Rev. Kane Located at Teachers' School

By Richard Nangle
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
February 13, 2002

The Web site for the Worldwide Teachers Institute's operation in Boston has removed all photographs and references to its director, the Rev. Thomas A. Kane.

Rev. Kane, who left the Catholic Diocese of Worcester in 1993 after he was accused in a lawsuit of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy, has spent the past five years as director of the international training institute for teachers, which is headquartered in Boston and also has teacher training programs in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.The priest has been based at the Guadalajara program, but is known to make periodic trips to Boston.

He was co-founder and director of the former House of Affirmation in the Whitinsville section of Northbridge, a treatment and counseling center for priests, including those suspected of sexual abuse. He left the post in 1986 amid allegations of financial misconduct, and the House of Affirmation was closed in 1989.

Questioned in recent years about Rev. Kane's whereabouts, Worcester Diocese officials had said they didn't know where he was.

Diocesan spokesman Raymond L. Delisle said last week that Rev. Kane remains listed on the Worcester Diocese's directory of priests because his last clerical assignment was in the diocese. He said Rev. Kane has not been defrocked, but cannot administer sacraments or celebrate Mass.

The spokesman also said that Rev. Kane does not receive any payment from the diocese. In a story in yesterday's Boston Herald, however, Mr. Delisle is quoted as saying Rev. Kane is receiving a stipend from the diocese.

Mr. Delisle did not return telephone calls from a reporter yesterday seeking comment on the situation.

Rev. Kane has not returned several telephone calls and e-mail messages from reporters. His position with the institute was reported in the Telegram & Gazette last week, and later in the Herald, after he sent Houston lawyer Daniel Shea an e-mail that stated, in part: "living here in Mexico for five years now and love it."

"Dr. Kane is not here right now, and we don't expect him in Boston anytime soon," said a man who answered the telephone at the Boston office of the teaching institute and identified himself only as "Arash."

A person who answered the telephone at the Guadalajara office of the institute also said Rev. Kane was not available.

A separate Web site for the Guadalajara branch of the school for those who teach English abroad continues to include photographs of Rev. Kane and a biography that omits all mention of his work as a priest.

The Worldwide Teachers Institute also remains listed as a service provider for the Massachusetts Department of Education.

"The commissioner will have to look at that," Department of Education spokesman Jonathan Palumbo said yesterday, referring to state Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "If this is a case where the man is a problem, then he (Mr. Driscoll) said he'd be more than prompt in removing his name from our listing on the Web site."

Mr. Palumbo described the Department of Education provider list as a resource for Massachusetts teachers going through the recertification process.

"It's not in any way an endorsement or a certification or an approval of these providers," he said. "We just sort of act as a middleman here."

Mr. Palumbo said the Department of Education does not have any information on Rev. Kane.

Bishop Daniel P. Reilly last week announced a "zero tolerance" policy on sexual abuse by clergy in his diocese. Mr. Delisle, however, has said the diocese will not forward the names of priests accused of sexual abuse to Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced recently that is turning over to prosecutors the names of dozens of priests suspected of sexual abuse.

Rev. Kane was one of more than a dozen priests accused in the 1980s and 1990s of sexually abusing parishioners in the Worcester Diocese. Subsequent lawsuits and, in some cases, criminal charges against priests focused attention on how church authorities investigated and handled allegations involving members of the clergy.

Before the information was removed, the Worldwide Teachers Institute's Boston Web site described Rev. Kane as an authority on teaching English abroad. A biography stated that he holds an American doctorate, a British diploma and three honorary doctorates from American universities. It also noted that he is an appointed scholar at Harvard University and author of a book on teaching English around the world.

A spokesman for the University of Birmingham in England, where Rev. Kane is said to have a doctorate, said last week that the school has no record of Rev. Kane attending classes there or receiving a degree.

Houston lawyer Mr. Shea, who has represented alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests, said he met Rev. Kane in 1974 after Bishop Reilly, then a monsignor in the Providence Diocese, recommended Mr. Shea seek counseling at the House of Affirmation. Mr. Shea was a deacon studying to be a priest at the time. When he met Rev. Kane at the treatment center in Whitinsville, he said, he rebuffed homosexual advances made by the priest.


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