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 11
Victims' lawyer to sue Dupre

March 6
Suit accuses insurer of fraud

March 5
Charges against bishop eyed

March 1
Activists seek sex abuse panel

February 26
Alleged victim to aid probe

February 13
Springfield probe is sought

January 7, 2004
Agents faced reluctant aides

December 3
Church settles with victim

November 15
Settlement fuels money advice

November 12
Claims set aside until 2004

October 30
Hard line set on abuse trials

October 21
Most plaintiffs accept deal

October 19
Therapy sought in abuse suit

October 17
Lawyer says settlement near

October 8
Victims agonize over deal

September 12
Victims seen taking settlement

September 11
Church deal a boon for lawyers

September 10
Church in $85 million accord
Archdiocese facing new strains
Most plaintiffs to accept deal
O'Malley makes an appeal

September 9
Negotiations resume in cases

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

TEXT

'I didn't think there was any activity going on'

7/9/2002

The following are excerpts of Bishop John B. McCormack's sworn testimony on June 4 about his actions involving priests accused of sexual abuse while he was a top deputy to Cardinal Bernard F. Law in the Archdiocese of Boston. McCormack, now leader of the Diocese of New Hampshire, was questioned by attorney Roderick MacLeish. Here MacLeish asks McCormack about confronting the Rev. Joseph Birmingham in 1987 about sexual abuse allegations against him.

Q. So even though you were aware of the multiple allegations against Father Birmingham, and even though you had your own reservations about making him pastor, you were content to take Father Birmingham's word on the fact he was ''clean.'' Is that your testimony?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, it turns out that seven weeks earlier there had been a report made by another parishioner of St. Ann's [in Gloucester] where Father Birmingham was working to show that he wasn't clean, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. So you were mistaken in taking Father Birmingham's word for it, were you not, Bishop?

A. Correct.

Here MacLeish asks McCormack, who was a licensed social worker from 1981 to 1988, what he did when a priest told him that the Rev. Ronald Paquin might be molesting a teenage boy in Haverhill:

Q. But you didn't go to DSS [the Massachusetts Department of Social Services] did you?

A. No, because I didn't think there was any activity going on.

Q. Well, you were told -

A. Father Paquin assured me there wasn't.

Q. Well, Father Paquin assured you there wasn't. This is the same Father Paquin that you had a credible report about him molesting two boys a year earlier, correct?

A. Correct.

And in another exchange about Paquin:

Q. What we see from looking at these memorandums is that you got the report about him molesting two boys, and a year later he's romancing another 15- or 16-year-old boy. [The priest] tells you that, and your only response from these documents is to go and speak with Father Paquin about it, correct?

A. And tell him -

Q. And tell him to cut it out?

A. Right.

Q. But you said earlier that when you had a report that you believed where a child under the age of 18, where there was reasonable cause to believe might be being abused, it was your practice to contact DSS?

A. That wasn't my assumption here, that he was being abused.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

This story ran on page A18 of the Boston Globe on 7/9/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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