Man Defends Cleric Uncle Despite Abuse Settlement

By Robin Washington
Boston Herald
May 19, 2004

Lawyers for the Archdiocese of Boston were "irresponsible" in settling a sexual assault claim against a Somerville priest who was later removed after an unrelated allegation, the cleric's nephew charged.

The Rev.

John E. McLaughlin, pastor of St. Benedict's parish, was visiting a parishioner at the time a Lynn man in his 40s said the priest kissed and groped him three years ago, Andrew P. McLaughlin wrote the Herald of his uncle.

"I know this because I was attempting to contact him at the time," he wrote. "I would without hesitation swear to all of this under penalty of perjury."

The priest's nephew said church lawyers were irresponsible in agreeing to include the accuser in last year's $85 million global settlement, as well as another adult's claim of abuse by the priest.

On Saturday, McLaughlin accepted a voluntary suspension in wake of claims he molested a minor two decades ago.

Carmen Durso, the lawyer for both adult plaintiffs, said victims frequently confuse the exact time and place of abuse.

"They were both very credible," he said. "In the other case there was another witness to the complaint."

Prosecutors declined comment on why a criminal complaint filed by the Lynn man was not pursued.

Also yesterday, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Sandra Hamlin denied a motion by the Rev. Robert Gale to dismiss child rape charges against him and left a jury to decide if the statute of limitations had been reached in the case.


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