Abuse scandal KOs Hub priests
Cardinal suspends clerics over new sex charges
By Joseph Mallia
December 8, 1993
[See also Allegations of Sexual Abuse Against Priests in the Archdiocese of Boston, a letter from Roderick MacLeish to Wilson Rogers, dated September 27, 1993 and released on June 3, 2002, after the letter was discussed in a deposition of Bishop John B. McCormack; and Lawyer for Porter Victims Says 20 Other Priests in Area Are Accused, by James L. Franklin, Boston Globe, December 9, 1993.]
Cardinal Bernard F. Law has suspended several priests in the Boston Archdiocese after 28 people came forward with shocking new accusations that 20 priests sexually abused them, a lawyer for the alleged victims said yesterday.
The incidents took place in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s when the accusers were between the ages of 8 and 15, said the lawyer, Roderick MacLeish Jr.
"Some people will say that with Father Porter sentenced, the world is safe from pedophiles. But there are many priests in Boston with multiple victims, roaming the streets free," said MacLeish, who represented 99 victims of James Porter, the former priest who was sentenced to prison this week for sexual abuse.
"Remember, these are allegations. We are very, very conscious of false claims," MacLeish said.
The lawyer praised Law's handling of the new allegations, which have not previously been made public. Many of the priests were active when the accusations were made, and Law suspended all of them, MacLeish said.
Law also provided free psychological counseling for the alleged victims, and the nun he appointed to deal with abuse allegations, Sister Catherine Mulkerrin, is doing a fine job, the lawyer said.
The alleged victims came forward within the last year - including some in the last few months, he said.
John Walsh, an archdiocese spokesman, would not confirm that 20 priests had been accused of child molestation, but added the report of priests being suspended is consistent with church policy.
"It is not a new story that the archdiocese has had procedures to deal with complaints of sexual abuse," Walsh said. "A person that is accused by a credible witness would be suspended."
Only one of the alleged abusers can be prosecuted because the statute of limitations on the other incidents has run out, MacLeish said. In the one case, he said he advised the man making the allegations to pursue criminal charges against the priest.
Three of the alleged victims are women, and one was a seminary student at the time of the abuse, according to MacLeish. Some of the accusers said they were abused over a period of years, he said.
MacLeish said five people have accused one of the priests, and several other priests face multiple accusations.
MacLeish said that, so far, the archdiocese has done a commendable job dealing with the new allegations.
"Cardinal Law made an excellent choice of Sister Catherine. She is one of the most outstanding individuals I've ever met," the lawyer said.
According to MacLeish, Mulkerrin said the archdiocese has in its internal files additional allegations against the 20 priests, made by accusers who are not represented by the lawyer.
Mulkerrin did not respond to several messages yesterday asking for comment.
MacLeish said he has not yet filed any civil suits in connection with the accusations.
In addition to the alleged victims of the 20 Boston priests, MacLeish said he also represents clients who have accused a Springfield diocese priest and a Providence priest. Ten victims have made accusations against the Providence priest, he said.
MacLeish said the accusations prove that legislation extending the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse should be passed.