Abuse Suits Name More State Priests

By Pat Grossmith
Union Leader (Manchester NH)
May 16, 2002

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester is facing 14 more lawsuits alleging 13 priests and one lay teacher sexually assaulted children over a 35-year period in six different towns and cities across the state.

Attorney Mark A. Abramson filed the lawsuits yesterday in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester.

With yesterday's filings, Abramson has now filed 24 lawsuits against the diocese and he said there will be more.

The lawsuits allege that priests and the lay teacher sexually assaulted the children in rectories, their cars and at camps.

The latest civil actions name 13 priests, nine of whom were not on the list of priests released by the diocese in February. The diocese said those priests listed were ones previously accused of sexual misconduct and who were removed from parishes.

Patrick McGee, spokesman for the diocese, said he could not comment about the latest lawsuits because the diocese has not been served with the documents.

"We haven't received papers so I can't comment on any particulars," he said. "If we had any complaint against these priests we would have made that public in February."

Abramson said 13 of the 14 filing the lawsuits were boys between the ages of 12 and 14 when they were allegedly sexually assaulted. The 14th is a woman who said she was sexually assaulted as a young grammar school student.

"One of the cases was particularly bad where the boy was masturbated by the priest at the rectory and afterwards, he sent him down the hall to another priest and that priest performed the act of oral sex on him," said Abramson, who declined to identify his client. He said, however, that his client never knew the identity of the second priest.

Doris David of Manchester is the first woman Abramson is representing who alleges a priest molested her. She alleges that the Rev. Alfred Constant forced her to perform oral sex on him once a week from 1945-48 when she was a student at St. Anthony's School in Manchester.

A lay teacher is named in another lawsuit filed by a man identified only as "John Doe 6." He alleges that a male teacher at Trinity High School in 1979-80 sexually molested him when the instructor took a group of students on a camping trip.

Abramson said some of his clients chose to be identified in their lawsuits while others did not. Those who did not are identified only as "John Doe" with a number after the name.

"Many of these people are well-known in their communities and have a real fear of the impact on their businesses as well as on their own children," he explained.

In fairness, The Union Leader is not identifying at this time priests accused of sexual impropriety where the accusers are withholding their own identity, unless the priest has been previously identified by the diocese or in another legal action. The others lawsuits were filed by:

John Doe 8: He accuses the Rev. Paul Aube, one of the priests on the list released by the diocese, of sexually molesting him. The alleged assaults took place between 1970-72 when Aube was at St. Mary's Church in Claremont.

"When he finally tried to put a stop to it, Aube told him, 'Nobody will believe you. I am a priest,' " Abramson said.

John Doe 9 and John Doe 16: They allege that former priest Stephen Scruton, also named on the diocesan list, sexually assaulted them in the late 1960s. Scruton was assigned to St. Kieran Church in Berlin at the time.

John Doe 10 and John Doe 14: They accuse the Rev. Raymond Laferriere, also on the diocesan list, of sexually assaulting them in the early 1960s when Laferriere was assigned to St. Augustine Church in Manchester.

John Doe 11: He accuses a priest who served as chaplain for the former Sacred Heart Hospital in Manchester of sexually assaulting him. The priest, who directed a boys' choir, had his quarters in the basement of the hospital. He would have the child come into his room through a window and then abuse him, Abramson said.

John Doe 12 and John Doe 15: They accuse the same priest of assaulting them in the late 1960s and early 1970s. One alleges he was assaulted when the priest was assigned to St. George Church in Manchester and the other said he was allegedly assaulted when the priest was assigned to St. Michael Church in Exeter. The priest was not named on the diocesan list released in February.

John Doe 13: He alleges a priest sexually assaulted him when he was a student at St. Anthony School from 1959-62. The priest was not on the diocesan list.

Roger Crevier, address unavailable: He alleges that the Rev. Roland Vielette sexually assaulted him in 1973. The alleged molestation took place when Vielette was assigned to St. John Church in Allenstown. Viellette was not on the diocesan list.

Robert Gelinas, address unavailable: He alleges that the Rev. Gerald Chalifour, who was on the diocesan's list, sexually assaulted him in 1972 at a camp. Chalifour was assigned to St. Peter Church in Farmington at that time.

Raymond Lague, address unavailable: He alleges that the Rev. Francis Lamothe, who is deceased, sexually assaulted him multiple times from 1958-63. Lamothe was assigned to St. Mary's Church in Claremont at that time. Lamothe was not on the diocesan list.


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