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Spotlight Report

FRANCISCANS

Cleric faces molest charges

By John Ellement, Globe Staff, 8/16/2002

A Franciscan brother molested four altar boys at an East Boston church 30 years ago and made one of his victims pray with him afterward while admonishing him that the assault was ''between them and God,'' a state prosecutor alleged yesterday.

Details of the alleged attacks were revealed during the arraignment of Brother Fidelis (Francis) DeBaradinis, who pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape of a child, four counts of assault with intent to rape a child, and five counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.

Although DeBaradinis, 75, didn't speak during the court proceeding, he vigorously shook his head in disagreement as he stood in handcuffs listening to a clerk read the 11 indictments against him.

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Audrey Mark said DeBaradinis sexually assaulted the boys between 1968 and 1973 while he was assigned to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in East Boston.

Magistrate Gary D. Wilson ordered DeBaradinis held on $10,000 cash bail, but Wilson also said he would release the Franciscan wearing an electronic bracelet if his order agrees to house him in the Boston area. DeBaradinis is due back in court Aug. 22. DeBaradinis, who has been living in Clearwater, Fla., was arrested by Boston police Wednesday while visiting his sister in Lowell.

The Rev. Robert Campagna, provincial minister for the Franciscan province to which DeBaradinis belongs, said yesterday in a telephone interview from New York City that the order will let DeBaradinis live in one of its Massachusetts facilities but was still working out the details.

Campagna also said the order would provide an attorney for DeBaradinis, who was represented by a court-appointed lawyer, Anthony Annino III, for the arraignment.

A decade ago, one of the altar boys reported to Franciscan officials that he had been molested by DeBaradinis, but the case was settled by lawyers without any litigation, according to Campagna. He said DeBaradinis has been banned since then from having contact with minors.

This story ran on page A32 of the Boston Globe on 8/16/2002.
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