Pepperell Man Sues Diocese, Priest's Estate
Former Headmaster Accused of Abuse

By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
April 16, 2003

WORCESTER - A civil suit was filed yesterday in Worcester Superior Court by a Pepperell man alleging he was sexually abused by the late Monsignor Richard J. Carelli during the mid-1960s.

Monsignor Carelli, a former diocesan chancellor, died in December 2000, but the suit names his estate and the Worcester Catholic Diocese.

The alleged abuse occurred around 1964 when Monsignor Carelli was headmaster of the former Sacred Heart Academy in Worcester, according to the suit.

The alleged victim, who is represented by lawyer Nance Lyons of Boston, is listed in the court documents only as Kevin Doe of Pepperell. According to the suit, Mr. Doe repressed memory of the incidents until 2002, when he began remembering and realized the harm that had been done to him.

Mr. Doe said in the suit that Monsignor Carelli told him that no one would believe him if he complained about the abuse and that only he or his family would be hurt if he reported the behavior.

Monsignor Carelli told the youth that the behavior was "appropriate between a boy and a man," according to the suit.

Mr. Doe said in the suit that he transferred from a public school to Sacred Heart Academy around 1964 where then-Rev. Carelli was headmaster. He alleges that the headmaster would call him to his office "and make sexual advances," which he tried to rebuff. The suit alleged that Monsignor Carelli "kept him there against his will for long periods of time."

Monsignor Carelli allegedly persisted and "engaged in several acts of touching, rubbing and fondling of plaintiff's genitalia," according to the suit. The headmaster also asked Mr. Doe to engage in "other explicitly sexual behavior."

Mr. Doe alleged that he completed his first year, failing only one subject, but the headmaster kept him back, stating it was "because plaintiff had refused his advances."

Monsignor Carelli was ordained here in 1953 by then-Bishop John J. Wright and retired in 1993 from St. George Parish and went to live at Southgate in Shrewsbury. He formerly was associate pastor of St. Joseph Church, North Brookfield; associate pastor of St. Ann Parish, Worcester; headmaster of St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School, Fitchburg; pastor of St. Roch, Oxford; and pastor of St. Bernard Parish, Fitchburg.

He became diocesan fiscal affairs director in 1983 and administrator of Vianney House, a home for retired priests. He became pastor of St. George Parish in 1985 while retaining his position as director of fiscal affairs. He was chancellor from 1985 to 1987 and was a diocesan consultor. He received the title of monsignor in 1992.

Diocesan spokesman Raymond L. Deslisle referred an inquiry for comment to James G. Reardon Jr., diocesan lawyer, who did not immediately return a call. Mr. Delisle has said in the past the diocese has a policy against commenting on pending litigation.


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