Archdiocese of Boston Priest Indicted on Charges of Rape of a Minor
(For Immediate Release November 8, 2022)
Monsignor Francis Strahan, 89, was indicted on one count of Rape of a Child by Force and three counts of Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14 in a joint statement issued Tuesday morning by District Attorney Marian Ryan and Framingham Chief of Police Lester Baker. The charges stemmed from an alleged sexual assault of a male student at Saint Bridget's School in Framingham on two separate occasions, according to their statement. DA Ryan stated that the victim was between the ages of 11 and 13 at the time and was an altar server while Strahan was the Pastor of Saint Bridget's Parish from 2004 to 2008.
The case against Strahan would no doubt never have been investigated if it were not for the brave victim who spoke to law enforcement. We applaud the victim’s courage and tenacity in using their voice to draw attention to a dangerous situation. Were it not for them, we worry that this abuser would have escaped justice.
Now that Strahan has been formally indicted, we urge Cardinal O'Malley to go above and beyond in reaching out to anyone who may have suffered, witnessed, or suspected abuse at the hands of the priest. The diocesan website, parish bulletins, and pulpit announcements should all be employed by church officials. The Cardinal should also go to every parish where Msgr. Strahan worked hard to inform parents and parishioners, and to encourage victims to come forward and seek help.
By our count, Strahan joins an average of two Catholic priests or staffers arrested each month this year on charges involving the abuse or exploitation of a minor. Clearly, sexual abuse is not a thing of the past, as Church officials frequently claim. If this scandal is ever resolved, it will be due to secular intervention combined with active parishioners speaking up about wrongdoing and standing up to institutional indifference. We hope that this story will resonate with parishioners across the country, inspiring them to be vigilant and vocal.
Above all, we hope that a conviction, in this case, will give future survivors the confidence to come forward and denounce crimes, no matter how distant in the past they may have occurred. We also hope that anyone who witnessed or suspected sexual abuse will come forward and make a report to law enforcement.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)