Newly Released Files Identify More Alleged Abusive Priests

By Robin Washington and Marie Szaniszlo
Boston Herald
December 17, 2002

A Dominican brother who allegedly molested a boy at a Dover priory and his Cambridge apartment from 1965 to 1968 went on to become an elementary teacher in the Boston Public Schools for 31 years, newly released church files reveal.

And, the records show, Archdiocese of Boston officials knew of the alleged abuse when they discovered former Brother John Dominic Karow, now 66 and retired in Brenham, Texas, was teaching third grade at the Grew School in Hyde Park, but hesitated telling school officials.

"We accidentally found out where Mr. Karow resides (and) works," the Rev. Brian Flatley, the church's clergy personnel secretary, wrote to abuse claim intake coordinator Sister Rita McCarthy in November 1994, three years before Karow's retirement.

Flatley, who coincidentally was running an after-school self-esteem program at the same school, wrote he had discussed the "strangeness" of Karow's teaching style with Grew's principal, but not the alleged abuse. "Because we are still doing a three-year pilot program at the Grew School with Northeastern University, I have no desire to jeopardize it. However, if (the alleged victim) does not go through with it, we should probably speak to the School Department," he wrote.

The alleged victim, who brought his complaint to the Dominicans and the Boston archdiocese earlier that year, said yesterday he also had learned of Karow's teaching job but was discouraged from reporting it by McCarthy.

"She told me, 'We have nuns involved in that school. If we say anything to the school they might take the nuns away,' " said the alleged victim, who settled his suit for $ 115,000 in 1996, conditioned on a confidentiality agreement.

"She said, 'We'll have the nuns keep an eye on him.' "

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey said last night she could not confirm if the church ever warned the school. School department spokesman Jonathan Palumbo, who confirmed Karow's employment from November 1966 through Aug. 1, 1997, said he was unable to immediately determine if the school had received any correspondence about Karow from the church.

In the suit, Karow is alleged to have initiated sexual contact with the then-12-year-old in the priory's showers. That evolved into oral and anal sex at the retreat and Karow's Cambridge apartment, where the youth was shared with another man, the complaint states.

Records show Karow sold his Hyde Park home a year ago and moved to Texas.

The files also include abbreviated records on two other religious brothers accused of abuse:

— Brother Fidelis DeBerardinis, 75, appeared in a Suffolk County courtroom this summer to face 11 counts of child rape of boys in the sacristy and rectory of East Boston's Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church between 1968 and 1973. He was released on $ 10,000 bail and is awaiting trial.

The Rev. Robert M. Capagna, the Franciscan's provincial father, apologized for DeBerardinis' acts and said he had been kept away from children after the order settled an abuse case against him in 1992. The thin file released yesterday shows another civil case dated a year before DeBerardinis' arrest.

— Brother Kenneth Ghastin, also a Franciscan, allegedly molested two brothers at Boston's now-shuttered Christopher Columbus High School. One of the boys later committed suicide.

"(The mother's) fear now is that her 31-year-old son (name withheld) who was also raped by Brother Ghastin, could be influenced by his brother's death," McCarthy wrote in the file.

The family reportedly contacted the Suffolk County district attorney, but no criminal case ensued.

Ghastin was reached briefly at his residence at the Mount Alvernia Friary in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., where he directed all inquiries to Capagna, saying, "I have no comment to make. All questions must be referred to my provincial superior in New York."

Capagna said Ghastin has been away from children for at least 10 years, saying, "He's in a monastery where he has no contact with the public."

— The Rev. Armand Thibault, a Marist father, was tried in Maine in 1993 for sexual contact with a child under 14 and child endangerment by providing beer. He was found not guilty on the sex charge and pleaded no contest to the other and, after spending two years in treatment at The New Life Center in Virginia, was recommended by his order for ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston.

The Boston church agreed to allow Thibault to live at the Marist's shrine on Isabella Street but restricted him from public ministry. But officials left unclarified for four years Thibault's desire to "witness marriages and to baptize," with one archdiocese official writing, "sometime, a follow-up should be done on this case."

In January, Thibault was removed from "any and all public ministry."

— The Rev. John Dunn was one of three priests at St. Mary's parish in Hull who allegedly molested a boy repeatedly from 1967 to 1968, when the youngster was 12 and 13.

According to a complaint, Dunn would hold him down while another priest would pull his pants off and grope him-.

The boy reported the abuse he allegedly endured at the hands of the two priests and a third clergyman in a separate incident to the Rev. Bob Silva, who allegedly told him, "There's nothing I can do for you." Dunn, who was defrocked, died after the 1993 suit.

— The Rev. John P. Lyons, who was placed on administrative leave from Rochester's St. Rose of Lima on May 31, was arrested in September at his Plymouth home on five counts of rape and abuse of a child between 1987 and 1989.

— The Rev. Paul David White allegedly abused an altar boy at Sacred Heart parish in Bradford. He has since left the priesthood.

— Incomplete files were released on the Rev. Raymond Boulanger, with no clear accusations, and the Rev. Richard Barry of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who allegedly raped and assaulted a youth at Tewksbury's St. William's parish. Barry was later transferred to Dallastown, Pa.


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