Ex-Bruin Deposed in Church Abuse Case

By Robin Washington and Tom Mashberg
Boston Herald
June 25, 2002

A former Boston Bruins player who reportedly received a child abuse confession from Monsignor Frederick Ryan testified under oath yesterday in a suit against the priest and the Archdiocese of Boston.

Chris Nilan, who played two seasons for the Bruins in a 13-year NHL career, was deposed by Daniel J. Shea, attorney for one-time Catholic Memorial High School hockey player David Carney.

In his suit, Carney claims Ryan, then the vice chancellor of the archdiocese, plied him with alcohol, had him tattooed with a cartoon devil and molested him in Rhode Island two decades ago.

Neither Shea nor Nilan's lawyer, Philip A. Tracy Jr., would disclose the substance of the approximately two-hour deposition. Both men characterized the session as cordial, however.

"He answered his questions truthfully," said Tracy. "He's not a party to the suit. He was a witness and he came in and answered the questions to the best of his ability." Shea gave a similar assessment, saying, "Mr. Nilan was cooperative, professional and courteous. It went off without any interruption."

Both attorneys said they advised their clients to refrain from speaking on the deposition.

Nilan, a longtime friend of Ryan, reportedly confronted him over molestation claims by Garry Garland, a high school teammate of Carney and former Shea client.

In previous Herald interviews, Carney, Garland, Shea and a fourth source said Ryan admitted to Nilan he had abused Nilan's friends.

Shea is also seeking to depose Ryan and Bernard Cardinal Law, who returned Sunday from a long weekend in Washington.

Law attended an anniversary function for Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick and a Knights of Columbus ceremony, archdiocese officials said.

Also yesterday, Bishop Walter J. Edyvean, vicar general of the archdiocese, was deposed by Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney for 86 alleged victims of convicted pedophile and defrocked priest John J. Geoghan.

Garabedian, who, like Shea, is not among lawyers who have agreed to a 30-day moratorium on depositions with the archdiocese, will depose finance committee members John Kaneb today and David Smith tommorrow.


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