Church Says Abuse Claim Came after Priest's Death

Associated Press, carried in Nashua (NH) Telegraph
May 27, 2002

Manchester -- The Diocese of Manchester said Sunday it did not receive a complaint about a former priest accused of sexually abusing a child at a summer camp it runs until after the man died in February.

The diocese said the report of misconduct with a minor was not related to the Rev. Karl Dowd's ministry at Camp Fatima, an idyllic collection of lakeside cabins it runs in Gilmanton.

In a statement, the diocese did not elaborate on the complaint it received, but said it is being investigated. A spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

"Reports about deceased persons do not pose a public safety issue, however, all accusations are thoroughly investigated," the diocese said.

The diocese also responded to an Associated Press report on Saturday that at least eight clergymen face abuse allegations involving Camp Fatima. The diocese reiterated Sunday that prior to the story, it had not received any reports of sexual misconduct with minors by priests at the camp.

Manchester Bishop John McCormack said he is "deeply saddened by the report that a child may have been harmed," and indicated that "he is willing to assist anyone who has been hurt by another in the church."

He added, "The protection of children and the forthright response of the church to persons harmed must be our utmost concern and our first priority as a family of faith," McCormack said in the statement.

County prosecutor Lauren Noether last week would not disclose the number and nature of allegations under investigation at the camp, which is host to several hundred boys ages 6-15 each summer.

Authorities do say all the alleged assaults happened at least a decade ago.

Among the accusations: A Manchester man says he was 9 years old and had just been chosen as an altar boy when Dowd, the director of the Roman Catholic summer camp, sexually assaulted him in the camp's chapel in 1972.

Dowd was the camp's director from 1968 to 1990.


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