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Spotlight Report

4 lawsuits filed alleging abuse by Jesuit priests

Charges involve events from '70s

By Michael Rezendes and Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff, 4/19/2002

A former Newton man and three former Revere men have filed separate lawsuits stating they were sexually molested by two Jesuit priests in the early 1970s.

In a lawsuit that was to be filed yesterday in Middlesex Superior Court, the former Newton man says he was molested by the Rev. Charles G. Coyle when Coyle was working as a guidance counselor at Newton South High School.

Coyle is now living in Louisiana, according to Jeffrey A. Newman, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the onetime Newton high school student.

According to the suit, Coyle befriended the former student and performed oral sex on him at Coyle's Newton home. The lawsuit also states that an unnamed second student who was living with Coyle at that time later committed suicide. The former high school student has withheld his name from the lawsuit.

In a brief telephone interview yesterday, Coyle said he is still a Jesuit priest. But he declined to describe his current assignment or answer questions on the advice of his lawyer.

Thomas H. Hannigan Jr., the attorney for the Jesuit New England Province, said that Coyle is a member of the order's New Orleans Province, and that officials there have referred information about alleged sexual misconduct by Coyle to Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley.

In a separate lawsuit filed last week in Suffolk Superior Court, a former Revere resident and his two cousins assert they were sexually molested by the late Rev. George V. McCabe while McCabe was working as a parish priest for the Boston Archdiocese at St. Theresa Church in Revere.

Each of the three men has withheld his name from the lawsuit, which also alleges that Rev. William G. Guindon and Rev. Richard T. Cleary were negligent in their hiring and supervision of McCabe. Guindon and Cleary are also Jesuits. Hannigan said he would not comment on the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, a former Revere resident and onetime altar boy alleges McCabe molested him during the early 1970s when the altar boy was between the ages of 10 and 13. McCabe died in 1998.

The alleged assaults, the lawsuit says, took place in the attic of St. Theresa's, in the altar boy's home, in McCabe's car, in a hotel room, and on McCabe's boat, which was docked at a Revere marina.

The two other former Revere men, who are cousins of the former altar boy, contend that they and their cousin were molested by McCabe during an outing on McCabe's boat.

Last month, the Globe reported that several graduates of Boston College High School said in interviews that three Jesuits who taught at the school in the 1970s and early 1980s had molested them.

Subsequently, the Jesuit New England Province said it had given Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley the names of five Jesuits with sexual misconduct allegations against them, and was in the process of forwarding the names of two additional Jesuit priests.

Yesterday, David Procopio, a spokesman for Conley, said the district attorney's office has received the names of nine Jesuit priests accused of sexual misconduct.

Hannigan, the lawyer for the New England Province, said McCabe's name was not among those forwarded to Conley because McCabe is dead.

Meanwhile, Barnstable District Attorney Philip A. Rollins said yesterday that since February he has received the names of 13 priests with sexual misconduct allegations against them - six from the Boston Archdiocese and seven from the Fall River Diocese.

Although some of the allegations are under investigation, Rollins said, most fall outside the statute of limitations and cannot be used to press criminal charges.

Matt Carroll of the Globe Staff contributed to this story.

This story ran on page A24 of the Boston Globe on 4/19/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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