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Spotlight Report

Arlington priest cited in abuse suit

By David Abel, Globe Staff, 2/6/2004

The pastor of an Arlington church engaged in lewd conduct with a teenage boy about 25 years ago and a priest who served with the pastor allegedly gave the boy alcohol and pornography, according to a lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday.

The suit contends that the Rev. Joseph P. Fratic, now pastor of St. Jerome Church in Arlington, engaged in "lewd and lascivious" behavior with the plaintiff, now a 38-year-old Hyde Park man, when Fratic was serving in the late 1970s at St. Paul Church in Cambridge. The suit also alleges that the Rev. Paul W. Hurley, who served with Fratic at St. Paul, took the boy to Fratic's home and provided the boy, then about 13 or 14, with alcohol and pornography.

"The allegations indicate an apparent coordinated attempt to harm an innocent child," said Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit.

The Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, spokesman for the Boston Archdiocese, declined to comment. Fratic did not return calls yesterday.

Reached at his home in Sandwich, Hurley called the allegations "definitely false."

"I would never have shared pornography with anyone," said Hurley, who in the summer of 2002 pleaded not guilty to charges that he paid a teenager for sex in the 1980s. He said he did not know why the lawsuit was filed, adding, "I have never seen pornography, other than R-rated movies."

Hurley was among 48 priests dropped from the archdiocese's clergy directory last year because they were suspended from the ministry after facing abuse allegations.


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