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The investigator’s report ‘does indicate that Dr. Robert M. Haddad (above) identified other women and men he had engaged in hugs and kisses with,’ a lawyer working for the archdiocese said.
The investigator’s report ‘does indicate that Dr. Robert M. Haddad (above) identified other women and men he had engaged in hugs and kisses with,’ a lawyer working for the archdiocese said. (Globe File Photo)

Church widens probe of Caritas chief

More kissing cases included in report

Dr. Robert M. Haddad, the Caritas Christi Health Care system president who was reprimanded last week for sexually harassing four women, admitted to an investigator for the Boston Archdiocese that he had engaged in hugging and kissing with others as well, one of the archdiocese's lawyers said yesterday. He also said witnesses had supplied still more names of women they had seen Haddad hugging and kissing.

David M. Mandel, an employment law specialist working for the archdiocese, said in an interview that the archdiocese is launching a further investigation of Haddad following reports that he ''leered and winked" at one of the four victims on May 10, after the archdiocesan investigation was all but concluded. If the inquiry establishes that the incident happened, Mandel said, then the Caritas board of governors that agreed to the ''stern reprimand" would have to consider possible further sanctions.

Mandel said the board was told Thursday that there were more than the four women involved before they endorsed Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley's recommendation that Haddad be reprimanded and receive instruction in sexual harassment guidelines.

Many women, and several employment law specialists, expressed surprise and dismay that Haddad had not been fired for repeated instances of hugging, kissing, and other touching with the four women, but the archdiocese said he would be dismissed if there were any further incident or any retaliation by Haddad.

Mandel confirmed a statement by a spokeswoman for Helen G. Drinan, the Caritas executive vice president for human resources who had urged that Haddad be fired, that the church investigator decided that the accounts of the four women had established a pattern of misbehavior by Haddad. The investigator concluded that it would not have been in the church's interest to widen the inquiry, according to the account provided by Karen Schwartzman, Drinan's spokeswoman.

A man who answered Haddad's cellphone last night said he was Haddad's son and that his father was unavailable for comment.

One of the board members said yesterday that he felt misled after he learned in yesterday's Globe that Caritas Christi had fired other men for similar behavior. He also said that Haddad on May 10 was seen by several witnesses, including the president of Caritas Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, to be leering and winking at one of the victims.

Mandel, however, said O'Malley's outside legal advisers had not told the board about the dismissals in other sexual harassment cases because Caritas Christi's human resources officials had produced insufficient information about those disciplinary actions. Mandel said the board was not told of the May 10 incident because it hadn't been corroborated.

''If it is true, should the board be apprised of it and consider further action? Absolutely. Absolutely," Mandel said.

Drinan and Mandel disclosed that other employees had experienced similar experiences with Haddad, according to evidence gathered by Jean A. Musiker, an outside lawyer who was asked to do an independent investigation of the allegations.

Mandel said that Musiker's 30-page report contains details about the other employees involved. Board members were offered the opportunity to read it at the Thursday night meeting, but none did, he said. But he said that Stephen B. Perlman, his law partner who was at the meeting, told the board there were incidents involving others.

According to Drinan's account of two meetings with O'Malley on May 1 and 2, Musiker explained that when she interviewed Haddad after taking statements from the four women, she asked Haddad to identify women employees whom he had hugged and kissed, and that he provided some names that were different from those of the four victims.

Mandel, citing Musiker's account, said it ''does indicate that Dr. Haddad identified other women and men he had engaged in hugs and kisses with. Jean Musiker identified other witnesses who also identified other women, beyond the four, who had been subject to hugs or kisses."

Mandel and Drinan agree that Musiker did not say how many additional employees might have had similar contact with Haddad.

The governing board member, who asked that he not be identified because the board was instructed to keep the reprimand confidential, said: ''The board was underinformed and misled." The board member said he had voted along with the others for the ''stern reprimand," but now has misgivings about the decision. He would not say whether he had voiced his doubts to the cardinal.

Other members of the board, including its vice chairman, Kevin C. Phelan, executive vice president at Meredith & Grew, have refused to be interviewed about Haddad, or have not returned telephone calls.

The archdiocese acknowledged the private reprimand for Haddad on Saturday after the Globe obtained letters and e-mails from Drinan to O'Malley, his secretary, and board members. In the letters, she said Haddad should be fired for his serial misconduct. She added that not to do so would be a disservice to the women involved, amount to preferential treatment for Haddad, and be another instance ''that the Church in Boston has once again put the powerful predator ahead of the powerless victim."

In a statement on Saturday, the archdiocese said O'Malley had decided after reviewing the investigation with counsel that the reprimand was the appropriate sanction.

O'Malley's decision to settle on a reprimand in the cases of the four women sparked an angry outcry yesterday from representatives of women's rights groups and organizations that have worked with the archdiocese in the aftermath of the clergy abuse scandal. And employment law specialists expressed disbelief that O'Malley did not share important information with the Caritas board.

Lynn Weissberg, a Boston employment lawyer who specializes in sexual harassment cases, said the board's vote to support O'Malley's decision had been compromised because members were not fully informed.

''I don't think the board could be expected to make the appropriate decision unless it had the full facts," she said. ''The board would have a responsibility to take a further look at the proposed discipline, which really seems to be totally inappropriate, given the facts. Termination certainly would be what would be done in any other organization."

Haddad, 52, has been at the helm of the Caritas system, with its six hospitals and 12,000 employees, since mid-2004, and is believed to receive compensation of more than $1 million a year.

Drinan, whose office fielded the first complaints about her chief executive officer in February, had argued in a letter to O'Malley that in every previous case involving similar misconduct, the male employee had been fired.

Yesterday, Schwartzman, on behalf of Drinan, gave the Globe a copy of a list of employees fired for similar behavior, but without their names. It shows that five men were dismissed between 2003 and 2005 for various incidents that involved kissing or hugging. One case, in 2004, involved a senior physician who kissed and hugged a senior clinician. There was just one victim in each of the five cases.

Mandel, during a lengthy interview, emphasized that the cardinal and his counsel concluded that Haddad's misconduct did not involve predatory sexual behavior. On Saturday, his colleague, Perlman, described the conduct as in the category of ''effusive, friendly warmth that is nonetheless unwelcome."

As for the additional victims mentioned by Musiker, Mandel noted that none of the cases had been investigated and therefore there was no evidence that any of them, including the unspecified contacts with men, were sexual in nature.

''That is not to say that it is appropriate to give unwelcome hugs to anyone," Mandel said.

Faced with the four cases alone, several lawyers, women involved in the church, and representatives of women's groups said they thought the sanction against Haddad was insufficient.

''It appears to be another example of the archdiocese protecting a man in power and showing a lack of concern for the victims," said Terri Febo, co-president of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women. Haddad ''is the CEO of the company. He should be modeling appropriate behavior. Clearly, this is not the case."

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, which documents the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, said the church hierarchy ''just has an inexplicable tolerance for sexual abuse and sexual harassment."

''I was really appalled," she said. ''The tolerance of sexual misconduct and the lack of accountability . . . are the same traits that church officials exhibited that created the enormous crisis of child sexual abuse."

Walter V. Robinson can be reached at wrobinson@globe.com. Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com.

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