A Brief Look at the Key Figures in the Lauzon Case

By Susan Butler and Beth Murphy
Portland Press Herald (Maine)
March 27, 2002

Stephanie Anderson - Became Cumberland County district attorney in 1991. Reviewing all files from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland involving allegations of abuse. Will determine which files involving the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests should be prosecuted and made public.

Paul Aranson - Served as district attorney for Cumberland County from 1982 to 1990. Negotiated Lauzon's 1985 guilty plea to witness tampering. Received bachelor of arts degree in politics from Brandeis University in 1972. Graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in 1977.

Sister Rita-Mae Bissonette - Associated with the Sisters of the Holy Rosary in 1965. Appointed co-chancellor of the Diocese of Portland in 1991. Reviewed personnel files dating back 75 years to find any allegations of child sex abuse. Interviewed the alleged victims in the files and forwarded information to District Attorney Stephanie Anderson.

Monsignor Marc Caron - Attended seminary at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and was ordained a priest in 1989. Appointed co-chancellor of the Diocese of Portland in 1997. Co-author of a report with Sister Rita-Mae Bissonette that named priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

Kenneth R. Clegg - Attorney for four of the Matthews brothers: Anthony J., Joseph A., Robert Jr. and Charles W., who were allegedly victimized by Rev. Raymond J. Lauzon.

Most Rev. Michael Richard Cote - Ordained a priest on June 29, 1975, and served as parochial vicar from August 1975 to June 1978. Earned a license in canon law in 1981 from the Catholic University of America. Accepted an appointment as secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's Embassy to the United States, in Washington, D.C., in 1989. Served as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Auburn starting in July 1994, and appointed auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Portland on May 9, 1995. Announced the removal of the Revs. John Audibert from St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Michael Doucette from St. Agatha in early March.

Rev. J. Joseph Ford - Ordained to the priesthood in 1967. Appointed vocation counselor for the Diocese of Portland in 1970. Named part-time assistant at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland in 1975. Appointed part-time assistant to Bishop Amedee W. Proulx and part-time associate pastor of St. Dominic's Parish, Portland, in 1976. Retained responsibilities in the Vocation Office. Appointed by Bishop Edward C. O'Leary as vice chancellor of the Diocese of Portland in 1979. Reassigned in 1991 by Bishop Joseph Gerry from diocesan finance officer to pastor of St. Edmund's in Westbrook. Serves today at St. Mary's Church in Wells.

Bishop Peter l. Gerety - Named coadjutor bishop for the Diocese of Portland on June 1, 1966. Became bishop of the diocese after the death of Bishop Feeney in 1969. Served as archbishop of Newark, N.J., from 1974 until retiring in 1986.

Bishop Joseph J. Gerry - Taught at St. Anselm College from 1958 to 1986. Elected third abbot of St. Anselm Abbey in 1972. Ordained auxiliary bishop of Manchester, N.H., in 1986. Named bishop of the Diocese of Portland on Dec. 27, 1988. Installed on Feb. 21, 1989, and still serving. Released a public statement on March 9 stating that his "office will soon be transmitting to the district attorney in Cumberland County information regarding older allegations of sexual misconduct with minors," and outlined a new policy and reforms to deal with other allegations of sexual abuse.

Rev. Raymond J. Lauzon - Ordained by Bishop Daniel J. Feeney in 1955. Served in parishes throughout Maine. Appointed director of St. Joseph the Provider thrift shop in 1969. Indicted by a grand jury in 1984 on two counts of gross sexual misconduct and later charged with tampering with a witness. Pleaded guilty to tampering; other charges dismissed. Served 4 1/2 months in Cumberland County Jail. Reappointed to several churches in the state from 1987-90. Has taught at St. Anthony's College in Kretinga, Lithuania, since 1993.

Alexander MacNichol - Defended Lauzon in his 1984 sex-abuse case. Appointed to District Court bench by Gov. Joseph Brennan in 1985 and reappointed by Gov. John McKernan in 1990. In 1997, lost his job in Portland District Court when Gov. Angus King decided not to renominate him, questioning whether he had the "judicial temperament" to serve people who use the court system.

Anthony, Joseph, Robert Jr. and Charles Matthews - Befriended by the Rev. Lauzon. Accused Lauzon of abusing them between 1969 and 1984.

Bishop Edward C. O'Leary - Installed as ninth bishop of the Diocese of Portland on Dec. 4, 1974. Retired in September 1988 because of ill health.

Bishop Amedee W. Proulx - Ordained as Maine's first Franco-American bishop in the Diocese of Portland on Nov. 12, 1975. Served as auxiliary bishop for the diocese. Died while in office Nov. 22, 1993.

Robert C. Robinson - Works as general counsel for the Diocese of Portland. Serves as counsel to the bishop of Portland and Catholic Charities Maine.


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