The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on April 5, 2002 · 20
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 20

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Friday, April 5, 2002
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The Boston Globe FRIDAY.APRIL5. 2002 Youth worker's charge of clergy sex abuse unheeded A20 NationjRegion cox Continued from Page A 1 The ensuing decade has brought change for Cox as well. Because of her brusque treatment by the diocese, she left the Catholic Church. She now belongs to a nondenominational church, and works with special needs students at the public high school in this city about 100 miles southwest of St Louis. Cox's story is a case study of a whistle-blower ignored, and scorned. But her treatment is far from unique. Other dioceses and archdioceses, including Boston's, often have reacted with hostility, indifference, or false promises of action when confronted with similar accusations, according to victims, attorneys, and people like Cox who went to church officials. In Middleton, Mass., for example, parents of several students passed on to the Boston Archdiocese reports that youth worker Christopher Reardon may have been acting inappropriately with teenagers months before he was arrested; he later pleaded guilty to multiple counts of child molestation. Their complaints were never pursued. In Springfield, Mass., the Rev. Bruce Teague contended he was removed as pastor of his Amherst church by Bishop Thomas L. Dupre, leader of the diocese, after Teague reported to police that the Rev. Richard Lavigne, who had been convicted of child molestation, was hanging around the Judge: No gag order for alleged victim By Matt Carroll GLOBE STAFF A Middlesex Superior Court judge yesterday cleared the way for the possible public release of internal Catholic Church documents that may contain evidence about whether Cardinal Bernard F. Law and other church officials knew about the sexual molestation of minors by Rev. Paul R. Shanley. Judge Leila R. Kern refused to impose a gag order on Gregory Ford, a 24-year-old man who was allegedly sexually abused by Shanley at a Newton parish in the 1980s, ruling that Ford and his family are free to talk about or distribute documents they will receive today. The Archdiocese of Boston had requested that Gregory Ford and his family not be allowed to talk about the documents until another hearing is held on April 17 on a motion filed by news organizations asking the court to make the records public. In a ruling, Kern said placing restrictions on the Fords would impinge on both the plaintiffs' and the press's right of free speech. Kern said that for the court to gag the plaintiffs, even until the hearing on April 17, the archdiocese would have to make specific detailed findings "that a compelling interest is seriously threatened." She noted that the archdiocese did not file a memo or brief about the matter. "I'm very glad I can speak out because I've been silent for so long," said Ford, who first told his family of the abuse in February. The lawsuit charges that Shanley was a child molester who was knowingly allowed by Law to remain as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton until 1989. Attorneys for The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and WBZ-TV had filed briefs arguing that Ford and his family should be allowed to speak about the re- DA calls By Fred Kaplan GLOBE STAFF NEW YORK - Cardinal Edward Egan, head of the New York Archdiocese, took a step toward greater openness this week when he gave the Manhattan district attorney a list of priests who have been accused of child abuse but at least one New York prosecutor said he did not go far enough. On Wednesday, the archdiocese announced it had turned over the list, after weeks of refusing to do so. Later in the day, however, it released an "addendum" to its policy on sexual misconduct, indicating it would name only those accused in the past The addendum stated that, in future instances, two archdiocese church. Teague said he had made the report to police only after the diocese had failed to respond to his warnings about Lavigne's presence around his church. "In my 17 years of dealing with this problem, IVe found that the common denominator among dioceses when faced with an allegation has been to maintain secrecy and avoid scandal," said the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a victims' advocate who coauthored a study of clergy sexual abuse for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1985. "Whenever an allegation was raised, the response was to ignore it, shuttle it aside, or coerce the victim into keeping silent" Sister Ethel-Marie Bin, current chancellor of the Jefferson City Diocese, said she could find no record of Cox's discussions with the diocese in 1991, or that the complaints were ever investigated. But she said she has no reason to doubt Cox's account "I think I would like to leave it with this: Most of the names that Donna Cox brought to us have been dealt with in other cases. They are no longer in active ministry," said Biri. Randy H. Kollars, former head of the the diocese's Youth Ministry program, confirmed that Cox brought the allegations to the church's attention several months before she was fired. Kollars said that in 1992, he was ordered by the chancellor at the time, Sister Mary Margaret Jo- iiiiiiiiiiimiiiiiiiiiiifiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiMiiii How to contact Spotlight Team The Boston Globe Spotlight Team would like to hear from readers with information about this issue. The Spotlight telephone number is (617) 929-3208. Confidential messages can also be left at (617) 929-7483. The e-mail address for the Spotlight Team is Past articles on this issue can be seen online at www.bos-tbn.comglobespotlight. The online section also contains letters and documents about the . abuse cases, video, polls, and message boards. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiimiiiiiiiiimimiiimiiiiiiiiii cords. Church lawyers agreed at a hearing on Wednesday to turn over the documents. Previously, the church attorneys argued that the documents did not have to be turned over because the church's First Amendment protections protect it from civil liability in such cases. Donna M. Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said there would be no appeal, to avoid a court battle and "out of respect for the plainfiff and his family." Roderick MacLeish Jr., Ford's attorney, said that he did not know when or if the Fords would make the documents public. Shanley, who left the state for California in 1989, was a street priest in the 1970s when, according to later allegations that were settled by the archdiocese, he sexually molested teenage boys. After he was reassigned to Newton, Shanley allegedly molested Ford. Matt Carroll can be e-mailed at N.Y. diocese policy on abuse 'disturbing' officials will interview the priest and his accuser, then make a report to a church "advisory committee," which "shall determine whether or not the allegation is to be reported to the district attorney." Jeanine Pirro, the district attorney of suburban Westchester County, said yesterday that she finds this policy "disturbing." "As one who has prosecuted sex-abuse cases for 20 years," she said in a telephone interview, "I think it is problematic whenever we delay a report of child abuse to law enforcement authorities." Pirro has arranged a meeting with the archdiocese lawyers for Tuesday to discuss the new policy statement. "I am hopeful that they 1 . .,'. ANTHONY J. O'CONNELL Resigned after allegations harming, to stop contracting with Cox for youth work. Johanning was the diocesan official Cox alerted about the sexual misbehavior. Cox said Johanning, who has since died, promised her after their initial meeting that the diocese would conduct a private investigation. Cox recalled that Johanning even brought her in to discuss her suspicions with Jefferson City Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe. McAuliffe listened silently, she said, and when Cox told him, "Go in peace," as he left, she said, he remarked: "Hearing this, I dont know how I can." Biri said McAuliffe, now retired, does not recall meeting Cox. James M. Hogan of Wilmington, Del., reacting yesterday during a news conference at a law office in Boston where he and several men came forward to accuse the late Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham of sexual abuse. A lawsuit filed includes Cardinal Bernard Law. Law is new defendant in clergy abuse suit By Matt Carroll GLOBE STAFF Cardinal Bernard F. Law and a retired monsignor were added as defendants yesterday to a lawsuit that now includes 14 alleged victims of the late Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham, with the two officials accused of allowing Birmingham to continue serving in parishes despite knowledge of his sexual abuse. Thomas Blanchette, one of the alleged victims, also said that he approached Law at Birmingham's funeral in 1989 and said there were many young men who needed counseling because of the abuse Birmingham inflicted on them, according to the lawsuit. According to Blanchette, Law's will have a chance to reflect on our concerns and reconsider their policy," she said. Asked about this criticism, Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the archdiocese, said its policy does not require congregants who complain of abuse to go through the church. "We have said we strongly encourage anyone who has any allegations or information concerning abuse to go immediately and directly to civil authorities," he said. "If they do come to us and do not go to the civil authorities, then this is how we will handle the situation," he added, referring to the process involving two archdiocese officials and an advisory committee, t When months went by without action, Cox confided in her parish priest When he sought an explanation from the diocese, Cox said, she was immediately called by Johanning and upbraided, and then removed from her job. "It was a great loss to the diocese and the youth ministry to lose Donna because she was such a gifted counselor," Kollars said. "But there was no discussion of the matter. I was told not to use her any longer." It was during her work as a youth ministry counselor that Cox learned of the inappropriate behavior. Starting in the early 1980s, Cox led teenagers from the diocese in retreats, rallies, and confirmation classes. During those sessions, many of them met with Cox or other counselors to talk about personal problems. "Too often, I would be told that they were being made to feel uncomfortable by a certain priest Either it was being hugged for too long, or touched in the wrong place, or suggestive talk about sex or alcohol even," Cox said. "After a while, I realized I was hearing the same priests' names." Separately, she discovered one of her sons had to fend off a priest's advances. Also, she said she continually heard complaints about improper advances on teenage boys at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Hannibal, the high school run by O'Connell that trained youths intending to enter I I " K ' " f ; ' . v t ; -y v : f csn. I--. ! -a ' : J : response was: 'We dont want to destroy the reputation of this fine man's ministry." Birmingham, who was ordained in 1960, allegedly molested so many children that he has been compared to former priest John J. Geoghan, who allegedly abused nearly 200 children. The Globe reported yesterday that more than two dozen victims of Birmingham have come forward in recent weeks. As in Geoghan's case, angry parents complained that Birmingham had molested their children. But the Globe has reported that complaints to the chancery lodged by parents from the first two parishes where Birmingham served, in Sudbury and Salem, had little However, in a letter sent Tuesday to Egan on behalf of seven district attorneys in the area of his archdiocese, Pirro wrote, "It is the duty and responsibility of the criminal justice system ... to determine the reliability of a complaint of sex abuse, not the church." Yesterday, Pirro said that letting church officials decide whether to report allegations "is certainly not consistent with the way that abuse cases should be reported." Delay can "affect the quality of prosecutions," she said, because it makes evidence harder to preserve. Egan frustrated several district attorneys two weeks ago when he stilted, in a letter to the 2.5 million ( the priesthood. One teenager told her his brother was raped by a priest at the seminary, while others told her they warded off advances from several priests there. Cox provided Johanning names of three former seminary priests: O'Connell, its rector from the mid-1960s to 1988, when he was named bishop of Knoxville; and the Revs. Man us P. Daly and John H. Fischer, who had moved on to parish posts. Daly and Fischer have been unavailable for comment The diocese could not sidestep another allegation that arose in 1995. Christopher Dixon, a former student at the seminary, informed the diocese that he had been sexually abused by O'Connell, Daly, and Fischer during the 1970s. A confidential settlement was soon reached between Dixon and the diocese on his complaints against all three men. After Dixon went public with his story last month, O'Connell resigned, apologizing for his behavior and expressing regret to Dixon. Two other former seminary students since have filed separate lawsuits against O'Connell, alleging that he molested them while he was rector of St. Thomas Aquinas. Also in March, Daly was removed by Jefferson City Bishop John R. Gaydos. Fischer had been forced into retirement by the diocese in 1993, Biri said in an interview, after credible allegations of abuse involving children surfaced effect: The archdiocese simply moved him from one parish to another. The suit, filed last month on behalf of James M. Hogan of Wilmington, Del., and amended yesterday to add 13 more victims, also names Bishop John B. McCor-mack of Manchester, N.H., as a defendant. McCormack, a seminary classmate of the dead priest who served with him in Salem, allegedly saw Birmingham taking a young boy to his room in the 1960s and did nothing to stop it. McCormack has denied the accusation, but admitted he was told about Birmingham's abuse of children. Robert A Sherman, the attorney who filed the suit, said an ad Catholics of his archdiocese, that he will notify civil authorities of allegations only if a church panel finds "reasonable cause to suspect abuse and the victim does not oppose the reporting." Pirro said she was "gratified" that the archdiocese has dropped its requirement of the alleged victim's consent but was "disturbed" that the archdiocese still would not report allegations without a finding of reasonable cause. She was also pleased that he turned over a list of priests accused of past abuses. The New York Times, citing a law enforcement official, reported yesterday that the list contained "alxnit three dozen" cases. ( against him. "'- In addition, Cox said she told Johanning that students had complained about the conduct of two other priests, Stephen L. Faletti and Kevin P. Clohessy. Biri told the Globe that both had been removed from active priesthood in the mid-1990s after credible accusations emerged that both had molested children. i Neither Faletti, now retired, nor Clohessy, head of a local Red Cross chapter, could be reached for comment Clohesss brother, David, is a leading advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse, having himself been abused by a priest during his boyhood. No subsequent complaints have been lodged against a fifth priest named by Cox in 1991. As for the sixth, Cox said she only alleged that he was sexually active with adult males. Biri said that priest was sent to serve as a prison chaplain outside the diocese after a credible allegation of misconduct against him surfaced. Cox wonders if other abuse might have been avoided if the diocese had investigated her accusations in 1991. "If the diocese or chancellor had just said something about the problem back then, everyone would have been put on notice," Cox said.i "We would have all avoided a lot of heartache." i Stephen Kurkjian can be reached AP PHOTO ditional 17 victims of Birmingham have contacted his office. The name of retired Monsignor John J. Jennings also was added to the suit in Suffolk Superior Court for allegedly ignoring the complaints of five women from St. James parish in Salem who asked in 1970 that Birmingham's new pastor in Lowell be told he wafc an abuser and that Birmingham be kept away from children. ; Jennings categorically rejected their demands and suggested the women were slandering Birmingham, according to the suit. ! Tom Farragher of the Globe staff contributed to this story. Matt Carroll's e-mail ! is JEANINE PIRRO DA to meet church lawyers ' : ; K i ! f i I I

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