Poll: Boston Catholics Fault Cardinal
Feb. 8, 2002
By JAY LINDSAY, Associated Press
BOSTON - The Roman Catholic Church's Boston Archdiocese, complying
with its promise to report past abuse accusations, revealed the
names of six more priests who have been suspended amid charges they
The six were among at least 22 more accused priests whose names
were forwarded to prosecutors Thursday. In all, the archdiocese
has now turned over the names of at least 60 priests accused of
sexually abusing children over the past 40 years. There are 930
priests in the archdiocese.
A Boston Globe-WBZ-TV poll released Friday found that most Catholics
in the archdiocese believe Cardinal Bernard F. Law has done a poor
job of dealing with the widening scandal.
The archdiocese was hit Thursday by two new lawsuits alleging the
church knew of the abuse but failed to stop it.
A lawsuit filed in Middlesex Superior Court accused the cardinal
personally of failing to protect a 13-year-old boy from abuse by
now-defrocked priest John Geoghan in 1989. In the suit, Christopher
Fulchino, now 25 and living in Maine, alleged Law knew or should
have known about the abuse and relied on "a veil of silence."
Geoghan, who was recently convicted of sexual abuse, faces 80 civil
lawsuits and two more criminal cases. In all, 130 people claim he
abused them. Last month, Law apologized for moving Geoghan to a
church in Weston even though he knew of allegations of abuse against
Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court on behalf
of four former altar boys accused the archdiocese of failing to
protect them and accused the Rev. Paul Desilets of molesting them
when he was assigned to Assumption Parish in Bellingham in the mid-1980s.
Earlier this week, two other former altar boys filed a separate
lawsuit against Desilets, now 78, with similar allegations.
Bellingham police, who have been investigating the allegations
against Desilets for the past two weeks, said they expect the number
of people accusing him of abuse to reach as high as 20. Police have
not yet interviewed Desilets, who lives in a nursing home in Quebec.
On Wednesday, Desilets told The Associated Press the charges against
him in the first lawsuit were exaggerated.
The archdiocese is facing other lawsuits by people alleging abuse
by Geoghan and by the victims of former church worker Christopher
Reardon, who was sentenced to 40 to 50 years after pleading guilty
last year to molesting 24 boys.
Last month, the archdiocese announced a new policy of reporting
even past allegations of abuse by priests after documents in the
Geoghan case showed at least some officials knew of the accusations.
The six priests suspended Thursday were the Rev. James F. Power,
71; the Rev. David C. Murphy, 65; the Rev. Robert A. Ward, 55; the
Rev. Thomas P. Forry, 60; the Rev. Gerald J. Hickey, 64; and the
Rev. Richard A. Buntel, 56.