Back to Boston.com homepage Arts | Entertainment Boston Globe Online Cars.com BostonWorks Real Estate Boston.com Sports digitalMass Travel The Boston Globe Spotlight Investigation Boston.com Abuse in the Catholic Church
HomePredator priestsScandal and coverupThe victimsThe financial costOpinion
Cardinal Law and the laityThe church's responseThe clergyInvestigations and lawsuits
Interactive2002 scandal overviewParish mapExtrasArchivesDocumentsAbout this site
 Latest coverage

March 23
Law's words frame new play

March 2
Wary Catholics return to church

January 25, 2004
Churches report attendance up

January 4, 2004
Dot parish struggles to survive

December 28
Hudson fill-in priest welcomed

December 12
Law prays daily for diocese

November 22
Assignment for Law expected

November 20
Policies on VOTF reconsidered

September 19
Crisis issues in church's future

September 18
Meeting ban at parish is lifted

August 4
O'Malley given warm welcome

August 1
Lawmakers see shades of gray

July 31
An angry protest, and prayers
Voices of protest and support
Three in crowd bound in hope
At BC, optimistic students watch

July 29
Lay group to engage O'Malley

July 24
Many outraged after AG's report

July 21
Law to skip bishop installation

July 18
O'Malley invites Law, victims

July 11
Bishops seek private opinions

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

Parishioners say removal of priest is retaliation

By Ray Henry, Globe Correspondent, 5/26/2002

WEST BRIDGEWATER - Parishioners at St. Ann's Catholic Church reacted with outrage yesterday afternoon to the temporary removal of their pastor over allegations of sexual misconduct and claimed the priest was suspended for his outspoken criticism of Cardinal Bernard Law.

The Archdiocese of Boston announced on Friday afternoon that someone had made allegations of sexual misconduct against the Rev. Edward C. McDonagh. He was forced to leave the parish rectory on North Main Street, and will not engage in public ministry until the conclusion of the investigation by the archdiocese and law enforcement officials, said Donna Morrissey, the spokeswoman for the archdiocese.

Morrissey said Friday that she did not know who made the allegations or when the alleged misconduct happened.

Yesterday, one parishioner, who asked not to be identified but described himself as a friend of McDonagh's, said he recently spoke to the suspended priest. He said McDonagh told him the allegations are about 30 years old and involve a North Shore boy, who has since died. The alleged victim's sister brought the allegations to the attention of the archdiocese, the friend said.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said yesterday that the church will not release details of the allegations against McDonagh, to protect the identity of the reported victim. He said the individual making the claim of abuse has been in contact with church officials, who have offered counseling and support services.

The friend called the charges unfair. ''How does the man go and defend himself?'' the friend asked.

Other parishioners said McDonagh's removal came in retaliation for his publicly calling for Law's resignation over his handling of the sexual abuse scandal. Several parishioners said McDonagh has called for Law to step down from the pulpit during Sunday Masses for the last four to five weeks.

''Father is not guilty of anything. We think someone's in this deal who is trying to scoop him out because of what he said about Cardinal Law,'' said parishioner Helen Cronin, 65, of West Bridgewater. ''He wasn't afraid to speak up.''

Another parishioner, Elaine Pratt, 70, also of West Bridgewater, said it was unlikely that McDonagh would have drawn attention to himself by calling on Law to resign if the priest had abused anyone.

''They wanted him off the altar where he could no longer espouse his beliefs,'' Pratt said.

McDonagh is living with friends, said a vicar who helped celebrate yesterday's Mass.

Clergy and counselors will be available after all Masses to speak with parishioners, according to the archdiocese. St. Ann's parish will hold a meeting on the allegations at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Jenna Russell of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

This story ran on page A31 of the Boston Globe on 5/26/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Advertise | Contact us | Privacy policy