Duckler: A list of priests’ names that’s far too little, far too late
David Ouellette was fooled once, as a 15-year-old victim growing up in Rochester. He wasn’t fooled last Wednesday, though. He read the list, released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, the one documenting priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children for decades. He noticed names, parish assignments, punishments handed out.
Ouellette wanted more details, though. He says he won’t get fooled again.
“Personally,” Ouellette told me by phone, “I think of it as a smokescreen and a public-relations campaign.”
Where, for example, was the information about specific crimes committed, and how many victims stepped forward with accusations, and why were many of these suspected predators merely shifted from church to church in a cover-up that impacted the entire world? Most importantly, where are they now?
“It really doesn’t tell you anything,” Ouellette said, referring to the list.
His wounds remain raw, first described publicly four years ago in our series on church abuse in New Hampshire and the resulting cover-up. Ouellette, who tends bar part time at the Holiday Inn in Concord, explained then that a priest named Father Joseph Maguire had sexually assaulted him in the 1970s, during overnight outings in the church rectory.
He was in high school, vulnerable, naive, impressionable, taught that church officials were more than God-like individuals, telling me in late 2015, “In my family, they wereGod.”
Maguire died in prison 14 years ago, convicted of raping three altar boys in Dover through the 1970s. A few years later, Ouellette was trapped in Maguire’s web of manipulation, leaving him to wonder in later years why this priest hadn’t already been charged and incarcerated before he got to him.
“Why did we keep pushing him to another parish?” Ouellette said. “Where do (abusive priests) live now?”
The Maguire cover-up directly affected Ouellette, who formerly worked at the Concord-based New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities. And after years of hidden pain, he agreed to talk to me back in 2015. Then, trying to lessen the impending shock the news would have on loved ones, he had to explain to his children and co-workers what had happened to him before my story ran.
His daughter broke down, asking her father, “Dad, why wo...