Sunday, September 19, 2021

Archdiocese settles six claims for sexual abuse by clergy

The Archdiocese of Boston last month settled claims by six men claiming to have been sexually abused by clergy years ago.

The alleged abuse took place from about 1966 to 1990, when the alleged victims were about 7 to 14 years old, their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, said.

“By reporting the sexual abuse, clergy empower the victims of sexual abuse themselves and other victims and express an important need to protect innocent children,” he says.

The archdiocese has settled the allegations “in the five high figures”, Garabedian said.

The six accused clergy and the congregations where the alleged abuse took place are, according to Garabedian:

  • Deacon William “Bill” Emerson, St. William’s Church, Tewksbury. Emerson is accused of sexually abusing a boy in the church basement at least 100 times from about 1973 to 1978, when the boy was about 8 to 13 years old. Emerson passed away in 2018.
  • Monsignor James Haddad, St. Eulalia Church, Winchester. Haddad is accused of sexually abusing a boy at least four times from about 1976 to 1977, when the boy was about 13 to 14 years old. Haddad died in 2007.
  • Rev. Paul McCarthy, St. Catherine of Siena Church, Norwood. McCarthy has been accused of sexually abusing a boy at least twice between 1989 and 1990 when the boy was about 11 to 12 years old. “McCarthy has been AWOL since 2005,” Archdiocese spokeswoman Terrence Donilon said in an email.
  • Rev. Paul J. McLaughlin, St. John the Evangelist Church, Swampscott. McLaughlin is accused of sexually abusing a boy at least ten times from about 1967 to 1969, when the boy was about 8 to 10 years old. “McLaughlin has been suspended since 2001 and is no longer serving,” Donilon said.
  • Rev. Francis E. O’Brien Jr., Christ the King Church, Hudson. O’Brien is accused of sexually abusing a boy at least 14 times from about 1966 to 1971, when the boy was about 7 to 12 years old. The sexual abuse took place in the church and the congregation school. O’Brien passed away in 2008.
  • Rev. Bernard L. Sullivan, Church of St. Catherine of Genoa, Somerville. Sullivan is accused of sexually abusing an altar boy at least six times from about 1970 to 1973, when the boy was about 10 to 13 years old. Sullivan died in 1985.
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Garabedian has filed complaints in all cases except McLaughlin because the statute of limitations has expired. Massachusetts law allows victims of sexual abuse up to 53 years of age to sue offenders, and up to seven years – from the time they first realized they were harmed by the abuse – to the supervisor or institution of the abuser.

“As a general practice, we make no comment on the lawsuit,” Donilon said, “and we refer to the plaintiffs’ attorneys to discuss possible settlements.”

Archdiocese settles six claims for sexual abuse by clergy
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