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Spotlight Report

Archdiocese keeps Rochester priest in parish despite lawsuit

By Matt Carroll, Globe Staff, 5/30/2002

The Archdiocese of Boston yesterday kept in place the pastor of St. Rose of Lima church in Rochester, who has been sued by two men who charge he sexually abused them in the 1970s and 1980s.

An archdiocesan official said there are no allegations against the Rev. John Lyons in church files and the church is trying to contact the attorney who filed the suits to get more information.

The Globe reported yesterday that the two men, who were once altar boys at a Brighton church, filed suit last month against Lyons in Suffolk Superior Court, saying they were abused in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Jeffrey A. Newman, the attorney for the two men, said the archdiocese had not contacted him about the suits. However, he added, ''I will allow the archdiocese to interview my clients to assure them that the information they have is adequate for them to make a correct decision.''

The two men said in interviews with the Globe that Lyons would put his hands in their pockets and fondle them. The boys attended Our Lady of the Presentation Church in Brighton. The men have asked to remain anonymous. The Globe does not publish the names of alleged victims of sexual abuse unless they want their names used.

The archdiocese has suspended 12 priests since January after records showed that the archdiocese had repeatedly assigned an alleged serial molester, John J. Geoghan, to parish after parish.

On May 23, the Rev. Edward C. McDonagh of St. Ann's Church in West Bridgewater became the latest priest to be suspended. An archdiocesan official would only say that the allegation against McDonagh was ''from the past.''

This story ran on page A26 of the Boston Globe on 5/30/2002.
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