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Spotlight Report

Attorneys release records on 10 more priests, brothers

By Michael Rezendes and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff, 12/17/2002

On the day of Cardinal Bernard F. Law's first public comments since his resignation as Boston's archbishop, attorneys for victims of clergy abuse yesterday released church records on another 10 priests and religious brothers accused of sexual misconduct.

The files include allegations that a religious brother accused of a violent act of sexual molestation taught third grade in the Boston school system; that two priests acted together to molest a 12- or 13-year-old boy, then passed the boy to a third abusive priest; and that a student at a Catholic high school committed suicide after being molested by a religious brother.

Yesterday's release brings to 53 the number of church personnel files aired by attorneys from the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, which represents about half of the 500 people with outstanding claims against the archdiocese. Church officials acting under a court order have handed the firm records on 111 accused priests.

One of the files released yesterday contains an allegation that a Dominican brother, Dominic Karow, violently molested a boy at St. Edward Church in Medfield between 1965 and 1968.

According to the file, Karow in one instance held the boy down so another man could rape him at his Cambridge apartment, then also raped the boy. Church records show that Karow, the Dominican order, and the archdiocese in 1996 settled a claim brought in the wake of the abuse for $115,000.

Karow's file shows that at one point, Sister Rita McCarthy, who was in charge of taking complaints from alleged clergy abuse victims, realized when she heard the accusations against Karow that she had worked with him at the Grew School in Hyde Park.

Boston public school spokesman Jonathan Palumbo said yesterday that Karow worked in city schools from about 1966 to 1997, when he retired. Officials found no complaints in his file, according to a preliminary check of school records, Palumbo said. Efforts to contact Karow at a Hyde Park address were unavailing.

Another file released yesterday concerns a Hull youth from St. Mary of the Assumption Church who was allegedly molested in the 1960s by the church pastor, the Rev. Leo Dwyer, and an associate pastor, the Rev. John A. Dunn.

A church summary of the youth's complaint said Dwyer and Dunn would often molest the youth together. ''Father Dunn would hold [him] down while Father Dwyer would pull [his] pants off and grope him,'' the summary said. The Rev. Robert E. Barrett, another priest at St. Mary's, also allegedly abused the youth.

By the time the youth made his complaint to the archdiocese, in 1993, Dwyer had died and Dunn had left the priesthood. Records indicate that Barrett was later confined to a psychiatric facility.

Documents in another file made public say that an alleged victim of Kenneth Ghastin, a Franciscan Brother, committed suicide in 1994 after receiving a $30,000 settlement of his claim that he was abused while attending a Catholic high school. The records show that the alleged victim's mother called the archdiocese to complain that no church official attended her son's funeral.

Lawyers also released files on:

  • The Rev. John P. Lyons, who was pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Rochester until he was suspended earlier this year due to allegations that during the 1970s he fondled altar boys while he was a priest at Our Lady of Presentation Church in Brighton. Lyons denied the allegations earlier this year. He was subsequently criminally charged with orally raping an 8-year-old boy at the St. Rose of Lima parish school, during the late 1980s.

  • The Rev. Leo P. Landry, a priest with the Stigmatine order, accused of fondling a 14-year-old boy at Camp Elm Bank in Wellesley in 1964. Landry, who is no longer a priest and lives in New Hampshire, referred questions from a Globe reporter to his attorney, who did not return a call.

  • The Rev. Raymond Boulanger, a Marist priest accused of sexual misconduct with girls at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Methuen during the late 1960s. In an interview, Boulanger, 81, said he often gave girls attending the church affectionate hugs. ''I think that one of the mothers must have misinterpreted what I was doing so she filed a complaint,'' he said. Boulanger currently lives in a Marist residence in Framingham.

  • The Rev. Armand Thibault, another Marist priest, who was indicted in March 1993 in Maine on charges he fondled a 13-year-old boy at a church-owned lakeside cabin. Thibault was found not guilty of the fondling charge but pleaded no contest to endangering the welfare of the youth by providing him beer. The Boston archdiocesan review recommended in 1995 that Thibault be barred from parish ministry.

    Stephen Kurkjian, Sacha Pfeiffer, Walter V. Robinson and Anand Vaishnav of the Globe Staff contributed to this story.

    This story ran on page A38 of the Boston Globe on 12/17/2002.
    © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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