Worcester News


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Worcester Wall of Shame

Compilation of Published
Sexual Abuse Cases

Documented through news reports published in the
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

NOTE: Last Updated in Fall 2003

Rev. Edward Nicewicz -- Jailed on October 31, 1986, after pleading guilty to charges of indecent assault and rape of two Sutton girls, ages 11 and 12. Fr. Nicewicz was a chaplain at Gardner State Prison when the offenses occurred. (11/1/1986)

Rev. Robert Kelley -- Sentenced to 5 - 7 years in Walpole state prison on March 11, 1990, after pleading guilty to two counts of indecent assault and unnatural rape of a female child. Father Kelley was pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Gardner when the molestations took place. He was released frm prison in 1996. On May 6, 2002 he was charged with raping another girl when he was assigned to St. Cecilia Parish in Leominster from 1980 to 1983. (3/31/1990) In the early 1990s, Kelley was named defendent in separate sexual abuse lawsuits by women who said they were molested by him in parishes in Southbridge and Gardner, MA. (5/07/2002)

Rev. David A. Holley – This Worcester Diocese priest served in several area parishes during the 1960s, but after reports of abuse here, was transferred to New Mexico and Texas in the 1970s and 80s.(12/18/1992) In May 1993, he pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and aggravated sodomy in New Mexico, and was sentenced to 275 years in prison. Also in 1993, Holley was named defendant in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against him and the Worcester Diocese by four men who alleged abuse by him in several Worcester area parishes. (4/13/1993) In 1997 the Dallas Morning News reported that letters in Holley's personnel file showed that six bishops knew he was a child molester, yet allowed him to work for at least 20 years in four states. (8/31/1997)

Rev. Justin Steponaitis – Alleged to have "sexually molested numerous young parish children" at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Athol, Steponaitis is a defendant in a sex abuse lawsuit filed Jan. 11, 1993. (1/12/1993)

Monsignor Leo Battista – The former director of Catholic Charities is named a defendant in a lawsuit filed in July 1992, by a former nun who claimed "Battista sexually assaulted and abused her while she was undergoing psychotherapy as his client." Previous allegations by another nun had led to the suspension of his license to practice social work in 1991. (2/9/1993)

Rev. Ronald Provost -- Sentenced to 10 years in prison in February 1993 after being convicted of taking nude photographs of ten year-old boy. Placed on probation after suspension of sentence. Prior to his trial, investigators had seized about 100 photographs of nude male youths from the rectory of St. Joseph's Church in Barre. (2/17/1993) In 1996, a Worcester Superior Court jury found that Provost and Worcester Bishop Timothy Harrington were not liable for damages in a civil suit filed by the father of a 10-year old boy who had been photographed in the nude by Provost.

Rev. Thomas Kane – The former psychologist and director of the House of Affirmation, a treatment center for Catholic clergy, is named a defendant in a sex abuse lawsuit filed by a local man who "claims he was sexually assaulted beginning at the age of 9 by the Rev. Kane." (4/24/93)

Rev. Victor Frobas -- Indicted by grand jury on three counts of unnatural rape of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery, May 1993. Rev. Frobas had previously served prison time after sexual assault convictions in Missouri in 1988. Rev. Frobas died before the Worcester case came to trial. (5/13/93) Rev. Frobas was the defendant in 1994 lawsuits filed by Robert Malo, then of Grafton, and Barry W. Houle of Northboro. Mr. Malo and Mr. Houle sued the Worcester diocese, alleging they were assaulted by Rev. Frobas when they were boys and members of St. Rose of Lima parish. They also alleged that the late Bishop Timothy J. Harrington, who was auxiliary bishop at the time, had been told of abuse in one of the cases and did not act to remove the priest from contact with children. (6/8/2002)

Rev. Brendon O'Donohue –A Spencer man who alleges that O’Donohue sexually assaulted him twice when he was a 13-year-old altar boy, names O’Donohue as a defendant in a sex abuse lawsuit filed May, 1994. (5/27/94)

Rev. Peter Inzerillo – The same Spencer man as above, who later considered entering the priesthood, alleges in the same lawsuit that in 1985, Inzerillo also sexually assaulted him. Inzerillo, who the young man had gone to for counseling, was vocation director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester at the time of the assault. Until late March, 2002, Fr. Inzerillo continued to work in parish assignments, most recently at St. Leo's Church in Leominster, MA. (5/27/94) (3/27/2002)

Rev. Brion Ares – Indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery on a 20 year old man he was counseling. The trial ended when the judge declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict. (10/20/94)

Rev. Thaddeus Kardas – Two women who allege that Rev. Kardas sexually molested them in the early 1970s, beginning when they were 12 years old, name him in a sex abuse lawsuit filed in February 1995.

Rev. Joseph Fredette – After being extradited from Canada, the former live-in director of Come Alive, Inc., a Worcester halfway house for delinquent boys, was convicted on July 12, 1995 for sexually assaulting a teenage boy who had been committed to Fredette's care by the state Department of Youth Services. (7/13/95) Dana L. Vyska, of Pittsfield, told the Telegram & Gazette 10 years ago that he was sexually molested by Rev. Fredette at Come Alive. He later filed two civil lawsuits against the priest. He said an out-of-court settlement provided him with enough money for a down payment on a house for himself and his family.
Mr. Vyska also was awarded a $120,000 judgment in another civil suit he filed against Rev. Fredette, but did not receive any of the money after the priest maintained he was indigent. (10/12/2002)

Rev. Thomas Teczar -- Defendant in a sex abuse lawsuit filed April 26, 1996 by a Webster man who says Teczar molested him repeatedly when he was a teenager. (5/25/1996) After molesting kids in Massachusetts, Teczar was transferred to the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas. The priest's history was the subject of a Page One investigative report in the Worcester Telegram on February 10, 2002. The Rev. Thomas A. Teczar, of Webster, is currently facing charges of sexual abuse of a minor in Texas. He was served with an extradition warrant from Texas and that case is currently pending before Dudley District Court. (Dec. 2002)

Bishop Daniel P. Reilly – A lawsuit naming Bishop Reilly a defendant was filed in Rhode Island in May 1997. The suit accuses a priest of raping a college student 30 years ago and claims that Reilly, "then a monsignor in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, was warned that the priest was assaulting young women, but took no action to protect them." (5/23/97) In March, 2002, an Associated Press story reports that Bishop Reilly has been named in more than 30 lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by priests previously under his charge in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Many of the lawsuits in which Bishop Daniel P. Reilly is named allege that the church responded to complaints by reassigning priests to other parishes. None of the suits suggest that Reilly himself was involved in any sexual misconduct. (3/17/2002)

Rev. John Bagley -- The former chancellor for the Catholic Diocese of Worcester and a former official at the Vatican, was removed from his pastorship at St. Mary's parish in North Grafton on February 20 because of an allegation involving sexual misconduct with a minor. (2/21/2002)

Rev. Lee F. Bartlett -- The popular and high-profile pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Worcester is removed from his parish assignment after a New Hampshire man comes forward with allegations of sexual abuse by the priest beginning in 1977, when the man was 13 years old. Fr. Bartlett is a member of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority and a former member of the city's Citizen's Advisory Council. (03/17/2002) A civil suit was later filed in Worcester Superior Court on June 7, 2002, alleging Bartlett with the sexual abuse of two 13-year-old boys in 1979.

Rev. Robert A. Shauris -- A New Hampshire man comes forward to say he was sexually molested by the Rev. Shauris when he was a student at St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg. Rev. Shauris, who has been on leave from the Diocese of Worcester for several years, was a music teacher at the school. The victim alleges Rev. Shauris was partial to providing him with mixed drinks called Black Russians.The sexual misconduct occurred when he was 14 and 15 years old, from 1983 to 1985, he said. Rev. Shauris was named along with a group of priests in a confidential settlement agreement of a 1993 lawsuit brought by Mark D. Barry, who accused the Rev. Thomas A. Kane of molesting him for several years, beginning when he was 9. The confidential agreement, obtained recently by the Telegram & Gazette, absolved Rev. Shauris, the Rev. Thomas Teczar, who is the subject of other legal action involving sexual misconduct with a minor, and Monsignor Brendon Riordon of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., from future liability. (03/27/2002)

Rev. David Blizard -- The Worcester paper publishes two stories relating allegations of several men who were molested by Rev. Blizard when they were teenagers. One was sexually abused when the priest was assigned to St. Roch parish in Oxford. Another was abused at age 16 when the priest was assigned to Our Lady Immaculate parish in Athol. Another said he was a student at St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg when he was abused by the priest. A reporter also was told about two brothers who allegedly were abused by Rev. Blizard in Worcester. Another, a Naval Chief Petty Officer told the Telegram & Gazette that Rev. Blizard attempted to sexually assault him during an overnight stay at Holy Angels rectory in Upton in 1983. Rev. Blizard left parish work in 1983 to become a religion teacher at St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg. He left the diocese in 1988. (4/5/2002) (4/13/2002)

Rev. Chester J. Devlin -- who headed the Respect Life office for the Catholic Diocese of Worcester, is removed by Bishop Daniel P. Reilly from his assignment at St. Bernadette parish in Northboro because of an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor in the 1980s. He was also removed from his position as director of anti-abortion activities in the diocese and has been placed on administrative leave. During the 1980s, Rev. Devlin was a headmaster at Notre Dame Academy of Fitchburg, a privately owned Catholic school. (4/30/2002)

Rev. Raymond P. Messier -- was removed from parish assignments in Athol and Petersham following revelations that he had molested a 9-year-old boy at a camp in 1980. The report was made to Worcester Diocese bishop Timothy Harrington, who assured the boy's mother and therapist at the time that Rev. Messier would no longer have contact with young boys. In later years, however, he was assigned to three other parishes. (6/8/2002) Two additional men say they were sexually assaulted by the Rev. Raymond P. Messier at his camp in Charlton and at St. Joan of Arc Parish. The incidents allegedly happened in the late 1970s, when Rev. Messier was assigned to St. Joan of Arc Parish and they were boys involved with the parish-based Boy Scout troop, according to Boston lawyer Carmen Durso. Rev. Messier was diocesan scouting director from 1973 to 1977, The two latest accusers joined another man in filing a civil suit yesterday in Worcester Superior Court against Rev. Messier and the Worcester Diocese. (9/4/2002)

Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger -- A civil suit filed in Worcester Superior Court yesterday alleges that Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger of the Catholic Diocese of Worcester sexually molested a teen-age boy at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in the early 1960s. Sime J. Braio, now 52, filed suit against the diocese and Bishop Rueger, claiming that the molestation started when he was 13 and continued when he was older. (7/12/2002) On July 13, Bishop Daniel P. Reilly issued a letter read at all weekend Masses in support of Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger. The letter restates Bishop Rueger's position that allegations of sexual abuse in a recent lawsuit are not true. Meanwhile, Sime J. Braio, who filed the suit Thursday in Worcester Superior Court, suffered a heart attack and stroke during the weekend. He is said to be recovering. (7/16/2002)

Rev. Joseph A. Coonan -- Bishop Reilly removed Rev. Coonan from his pastorship Aug. 1 after the allegations were relayed to him by Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte. (8/1/2002)

Rev. John-Paul Gagnon -- The Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon, a priest in Millville, has been named in a civil suit filed this week in Worcester Superior Court. Timothy P. Staney and his parents, Joseph C. and Corinne L. Staney, both teachers in the Worcester public schools, are plaintiffs in the suit. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff says he reported previous sexual abuse by his religious education teacher to Gagnon in confession when he was 14. Rev. Gagnon then used that information to set the adolescent boy up as a sex partner for himself. The sexual acts included oral and anal penetration and involved use of alcohol and pornography. (10/2/2002) (01/14/2003)

Rev. Henry S. Banach - a retired diocesan priest, has been named in a civil suit filed this week in Worcester Superior Court. The suit involving Rev. Banach was filed by lawyer Carmen Durso of Boston using the names John Doe and Robert Doe. Mr. Durso said the men are brothers. According to the suit, Rev. Banach was assigned to St. Hedwig's parish, Southbridge, when he sexually assaulted and abused the brothers from 1982 to 1988 in the church sacristy and rectory. John Doe was a 12-year-old; Robert Doe was 10 years old; both were altar boys at St. Hedwig's. (10/2/2002) Two additional victims of Reb. Banach have subsequently come forward with their own allegations of abuse (10/10/2002)

Rev. Donald J. Rebokus - A former headmaster at Holy Name High School in Worcester, and chaplain to the Massachusetts State Police, Rev Rebokus is reported to have sexually abused Bryan A. Smith class of '79 about a dozen times during the 1970s. The priest, who died during the 1980s, was also assigned to several parishes in the diocese, including St. Mary's in Uxbridge, and St. Leo's in Leominster. (01/22/2003)

Rev. Norman Jalbert - A Worcester man came forward to say that as a teenager, he was raped repeatedly by the Rev. Norman Jalbert, a priest who was also a music teacher and guidance counselor at Holy Name Central Catholic High School. The victim, Raymond Plante, Jr., now 39, said he has decided to go public with his story because he believes other victims may exist and he needs to tell people the extent of what happened to him. The Rev. Jalbert died in May 1994 at age 58. (02/04/2003)

Monsignor Richard J. Carelli - A civil suit was filed in Worcester Superior Court by a Pepperell man alleging he was sexually abused by the late Monsignor Richard J. Carelli during the mid-1960s. Monsignor Carelli, a former diocesan chancellor, died in December 2000, but the suit names his estate and the Worcester Catholic Diocese. The alleged abuse occurred around 1964 when Monsignor Carelli was headmaster of the former Sacred Heart Academy in Worcester, according to the suit. (May 2003)

Rev. Chester J. Devlin - A civil suit was filed this week in Worcester Superior Court against the Worcester Catholic Diocese and the Rev. Chester J. Devlin alleging that the priest sexually abused a boy in the late 1970s at Holy Name High School. Parishioners of St. Bernadette parish, Northboro, were informed this weekend that Rev. Devlin has resigned as pastor. Rev. Devlin, who was also diocesan pro-life activities director, was pastor of St. Bernadette, which also has an elementary school, until he was removed last year by Bishop Reilly after an allegation of sexual abuse was made to the diocese and later turned over to Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte. Rev. Devlin is the third priest to be named by former male students of Holy Name as an alleged sexual abuser. Allegations have also been made by area men against the Rev. Norman Jalbert and the Rev. Donald C. Rebokus, who have since died. Rev. Jalbert and Rev. Rebokus were also at Holy Name in the late 1970s. Rev. Rebokus, a former state police chaplain, was headmaster there. (May 2003)

Worcester Diocese Priests Removed from
Active Ministry in 2002:

The bishop has removed from active ministry: the Rev. John Bagley of St. Mary Church in North Grafton; the Rev. Gerard Walsh of St. Roch Church in Oxford, who was also a state police chaplain; the Rev. Chester Devlin of St. Bernadette Church in Northboro, who was also the Respect Life director; the Rev. Peter J. Inzerillo of St. Leo Church in Leominster; the Rev. Joseph A. Coonan of St. John Church, Worcester; the Rev. Lee F. Bartlett of Sacred Heart Church, Worcester, who was a member of the Worcester Redevelop-ment Authority; and the Rev. Raymond P. Messier of St. Francis Church in Athol and St. Peter Church in Petersham, who was also the Athol Fire Department chaplain. (11/15/2002)

Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests