'Credible' Allegation LED to Priest's Ouster

By Hunter McGee
New Hampshire Sunday News
March 03, 2002

NASHUA — The auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Manchester came yesterday to offer comfort and prayer for the victims and members of the Parish of the Resurrection after a former priest retired in the wake of a sexual abuse allegation against him.

Hundreds of congregation members filled the pews of the church on Broad Street and listened intently as the Rev. Francis Christian told them why the Rev. Albion Bulger stepped down from the priesthood last fall after an investigation by the Diocese that proved "credible" the single allegation against him. The investigation also included a psychological investigation, he said.

"Our Diocesan policy is if there is one credible allegation about a man in this area, he can't continue to serve as priest," Christian said.

Some congregation members hugged and chatted as they streamed out of the church following the Mass, while other silently walked to their cars.

Parishioner Frances Reilly, who has been a member of the parish since it began, said after the ceremony, "it's very, very sad . . . we are very supportive."

Christian did not delve into the incident, but said it occurred about 27 years ago. The Diocese received an allegation against Bulger in July and launched the investigation.

The purpose of Christian's appearance was to help the parish understand the situation.

"It's a tragic situation for everybody," Christian said, adding that even though someone might gain control over a sexual compulsion for many years, there is no guarantee "it won't happen again."

Along with explaining the reasons for the Diocese's decision, Christian said he also came because "this is painful. He is a good man in many other ways. He has done wonderful work in other areas."

Christian asked parishioners to pray for the victims and for everyone else.

"Because it's terrible for them . . . for all the priests who don't have this problem, who are now sometimes painted with the same brush; for the priests who themselves have it, because they suffer a great deal over it and don't rejoice in the fact that they have this problem; and for the bishops, that we might have the wisdom to do the best thing we can in dealing with these issues."


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