14 JP priests on sex abuser list

October 7, 2011
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A total of 14 priests from all Jamaica Plain parishes appear on a long-awaited list of 159 Boston Catholic clergy convicted or accused of child sexual abuse released Aug. 25 by the Archdiocese of Boston.

They include John Geoghan, the notorious child molestor whose crimes at St. Andrew the Apostle in Forest Hills were a crucial example of the Church’s cover-up of pedophile priests.

Not all of the clergy were accused of crimes in JP, but the list may help more victims come forward. Boston Archbishop Cardinal Seán O’Malley wrote in the report that it is intended to “provide some additional comfort and healing” for the hundreds of victims.

But Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney famous for helping breaking open the clergy sexual abuse cover-up, blasted the list as too little, too late. He told the Gazette that it includes only priests already publicly known, and criticized it for not including the names of outside clergy who were under Archdiocese supervision.

The Archdiocese is “just trying to cosmetically appear as though it’s doing something positive when it’s really just revictimizing victims,” Garabedian said.

In the Archdiocese list, O’Malley urges other Catholic orders to release their own lists of accused clergy.

The Archdiocese said that another 91 names are not being publicized because the cases are still under investigation. The list also includes 22 cases where the abuse claims were found to be unproven.

“Having met with hundreds of [abuse] survivors, I know firsthand the scars you carry,” O’Malley wrote in an introduction to the Archdiocese list. “And I carry with me every day the pain of the Church’s failures. I express once again my sorrow for your pain and my apology for any way the Church and its clergy have failed you.”

The Gazette worked with Garabedian last year to come up with a JP list that found more than 70 local children molested at Church institutions from the 1950s to the 1980s. At least six clergy or Church-supervised laypeople were responsible for those crimes.

The new Archdiocese list includes three of them. Geoghan, who was parochial vicar at St. Andrew’s in 1974-1980, was a known child molestor when he was transferred here. Robert V. Gale, a priest at Our Lady of Lourdes (OLOL) in 1970-77, was accused of sexual abuse here, then transferred to other churches, where he continued his crimes before being imprisoned.

Robert L. Ryer, a priest at Blessed Sacrament in 1951-61, is listed by the Archdiocese as having died before sexual abuse claims were fully investigated. Garabedian previously told the Gazette that he has reached settlement on three JP claims involving Ryer.

Local abusers not on the list include Robert Burns, a known child molestor when he was transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas in the 1980s; and seminary student Paul Hightower and lay brother Edward Anthony Holmes, who abused children at the former Nazareth Child Care Center in 1968-85.

The new Archdiocese list also includes clergy who were accused elsewhere but served at some point in JP. Known child molesters on that list include former OLOL pastor Harold J. Johnson (1973-80) and Blessed Sacrament priest William M. Walsh (1971-80).

Priests accused of abuse with cases still in process include William L. Butler (St. Thomas, 1962-66) and Jay M. Mullin (St. Thomas, 1973-77).

And priests who died before accusations against them were made or investigated include: Eugene J. Bailot (St. Thomas, 1952-55); Paul J. Bolduc (St. Thomas, 1994-97); John E. Guiney (Blessed Sacrament, 1966-69); James T. McKeon (pastor, OLOL, 1960-65); Paul P. Rynne (St. Thomas, 1958-62); James C. Shaughnessey (St. Thomas, 1961-67); and Michael D. Sullivan (St. Andrew’s, 1947-52 and St. Mary of the Angels, 1961-65).

Most of the cases listed are from the 1980s or earlier. O’Malley has suggested that is because of the Church’s improved security and abuse reporting standards. Garabedian said it is because victims since then are not yet old enough to come forward and face their abusers.

The full report can be viewed at bostoncatholic.org.

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