24 More Priests Accused of Child Abuse
Roman Catholic archdiocese officials in Boston have turned over to lawyers
newly discovered files showing 24 more priests were accused of abusing
The archdiocese turned over the files on Saturday after attorneys found
allegations of child sex abuse among files on 41 priests the archdiocese had
originally said were accused only of sexual misconduct with adults.
"That was apparently not the case," attorney Jeffrey Newman said yesterday.
Twenty-four of the 41 were found to have child abuse allegations against
them, and in two other cases the record was disputed over whether the
allegation had involved child abuse.
Attorneys for alleged sex abuse victims scoured the files this weekend as
they prepared to continue taking sworn testimony from Cardinal Bernard Law
Newman said it was "very unfair" to receive the new files more than four
months after Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney ordered the archdiocese
to turn over files of all priests accused of sexually abusing children.
Some of the priests are still in active ministry, Newman said, though he
would not identify them. He said the files would be released after names of
alleged victims are removed, possibly in a few days.
The new files bring to 135 the number of priests accused of sex abuse in the
Boston archdiocese whose cases have now been released to Newman's law firm,
Greenberg Traurig. Some cases go back decades.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said church attorneys advised her
not to comment on the files.
Newman said he didn't yet know if information in the files would be used in
Law's continuing deposition in the case of the Reverend Paul Shanley.
"We have to analyse the records, and we're in the process of reading them,
and we may use them for the deposition Monday," Newman said.
Law has given sworn deposition testimony several times already - most
recently January 22 - in the case of Shanley, who is accused in civil
lawsuits of abusing children while pastor at a church in Newton. Shanley,
71, also faces 10 counts of child rape and six counts of indecent assault
and battery on boys from St Jean's parish in Newton between 1979 and 1989.
He has pleaded innocent and is free on bail.
Attorneys for Law and the archdiocese lost a bid to delay the questioning
until a state grand jury completed a separate investigation into clergy
sexual abuse. Sweeney sharply rebuked the defendants' attorneys for delays,
and said she would fine them.
Newman said Bishop Richard Lennon must stop church lawyers from trying to
slow down the litigation if there's to be any hope of a settlement.
Law resigned as archbishop in December, though he remains a cardinal.
Lennon, his interim successor, has said settling the lawsuits is a priority.
Sydney Morning Herald (3-2-2003)