4 Priests Defrocked for Abuse

By Marie Szaniszlo
Boston Herald
February 12, 2005

The Vatican has defrocked four priests from the Boston archdiocese accused of sexually abusing youngsters, church officials said yesterday.

Robert D. Fay, Kelvin Iguabita, Bernard J. Lane and Robert A. Ward no longer may function as priests, except to offer absolution to the dying. They also will no longer receive any pay or benefits from the archdiocese.

``This sends a stronger message than any monetary settlement ever could. It means the (church) hierarchy finally did the right thing, and that's the best gift I could ever receive,'' said Jacqueline Petinge, who will turn 44 this month. ``It's a validation for me and for all the victims who could not bring themselves to come forward.''

In a lawsuit she settled with the archdiocese in 2003, Petinge accused Fay of plying her and other youngsters from Incarnation parish in Melrose with alcohol and marijuana in the 1970s and raping her at his New Hampshire home.

Fay, a Stoughton native who owns a Century 21 in Brockton, filed a counterclaim calling the allegations baseless.

Iguabita was convicted in June 2003 of raping a 15-year-old girl while he was assigned to a Haverhill church. He was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in prison.

Lane was accused of abusing at least 17 boys, several of them at Alpha Omega House, a Littleton home for troubled youngsters he founded and directed in the 1970s.

Ward was assigned to Holy Ghost parish in Whitman in 1999 after he was treated for cocaine addiction. Less than two weeks later, a computer technician found child pornography the priest allegedly had downloaded on his computer. Three years later, the archdiocese suspended him after he was accused of molesting a boy in the 1970s at Our Lady of the Presentation parish in Brighton.

The four are among the few local priests to be formally sanctioned by the Holy See. John Geoghan was accused of molesting scores of children before he was defrocked and killed in prison in 2003. Paul Shanley was defrocked last year and convicted this week of child rape.


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