Boston Archdiocese gives authorities names of priests accused of sexual abuse

Posted: Friday, February 01, 2002

BOSTON (AP) -- Acting on a pledge made by Cardinal Bernard F. Law, the Archdiocese of Boston provided authorities the names of priests accused of sexually abusing children during the past four decades.

The archdiocese did not disclose the number of names reported, but a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney's office said they received a package of information that included the names of 10 priests or former priests.

Meanwhile, The Boston Globe reported that the Archdiocese of Boston had settled child molestation claims against at least 70 priests in the last 10 years.

The Globe's estimate includes numbers provided by attorneys whose clients were involved in settlements. It also includes priests named in lawsuits and priests named in interviews with victims who contacted the Globe. The Globe said it also learned of 20 court lawsuits in which the records were impounded.

On Wednesday, district attorneys received packets of information about priests accused of sex abuse in their jurisdictions.

The Suffolk County district attorney's office said the packet included 10 names of priests or former priests, said spokesman David Procopio. He said investigations are possible, if victims cooperate and statutes of limitations haven't expired.

Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley's office confirmed it received ''preliminary information,'' but nothing that would spark an investigation.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey said in a brief statement that ''none of the individuals being reported is currently in active service in the archdiocese.''

Earlier this month, Law had said the archdiocese would report sexual abuse to authorities, not just to church officials as the Vatican had ordered. At that time, he said his policy was not retroactive.

Law said after reflection, he realized abusers ''still exist, and they still exist with that problem, and I don't have police powers.'' He said he couldn't say how many priests have been accused of sexual misconduct, but said no priest known to be guilty of such abuse would hold any position in the archdiocese.

Last week, 10,000 court documents were released detailing how church leaders continued to support defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, even after warnings from doctors and allegations of sexual abuse of children.

Geoghan, 66, was convicted Jan. 18 of indecent assault on a 10-year-old boy and faces two more criminal trials. He's also named in 84 civil lawsuits related to alleged abuse.

The Archdiocese of Boston has faced scrutiny since it became publicly known that Geoghan was assigned to pastor St. Julia's Parish in Weston even though he had been removed from two other parishes after being accused of molesting children.



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