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Spotlight Report

Hudson priest focus of abuse allegation

By Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff, 8/3/2002

The pastor of St. Michael Church in Hudson was placed on administrative leave yesterday following a recent allegation that he engaged in a single episode of sexual misconduct more than 25 years ago.

Donna M. Morrissey, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Boston, said in a statement that the Rev. Thomas M. Curran was removed from all assignments, pending a church investigation.

''It was determined that the allegation had enough substance to warrant further investigation by the Archdiocese of Boston and met the criteria to place Father Curran on leave,'' Morrissey said.

Curran, ordained in 1970, is the 18th priest to be removed from an assignment because of an allegation of sexual misconduct since January, when the scandal roiling the Catholic Church erupted in Boston. To date, the archdiocese has not said whether it has been able to determine the veracity of the allegations against any of the 18 priests.

The 57-year-old Curran was named pastor of St. Michael in 1996, after serving as pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Revere. Curran could not be reached for comment last night.

Some of his parishioners, meanwhile, gathered at the church last night for a prayer service.

''I was very, very surprised,'' said Mark O'Connell, who has attended St. Michael for 11 years. ''It was a very big surprise for everyone.''

Curran underwent heart bypass surgery several months ago, but seemed to be doing well in his recovery, according to O'Connell.

''He looked very good recently,'' he said. ''He seemed to be in good spirit and everything. It must've been such a shock [for] him, too.''

O'Connell, who learned of Curran's forced leave from other parishioners, described the priest as a ''very nice guy, very outgoing, and very instrumental'' in the church's development. ''There is a lot of support - very strong support - for him,'' he said.

In her statement, Morrissey said that Curran will continue to receive his salary and medical benefits during the investigation and that his leave should not be considered a sign that the church believes he is guilty.

''If the allegation proves to be groundless, efforts will be made to restore the priest's reputation,'' Morrissey said.

G lobe correspondent Jenny Jiang contributed to this report.

Michael Rezendes can be reached at rezendes@globe.com.

This story ran on page A8 of the Boston Globe on 8/3/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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