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Church records show abuse of girls, drugs by priests
By Ken Maguire, Associated Press, 12/03/02
BOSTON Personnel files from the Boston Archdiocese released Tuesday reveal allegations that priests sexually abused teenage girls, used cocaine and other drugs, and that one led a "double life" by carrying on an affair with a female parishioner.
The allegations are contained in personnel files the Boston Archdiocese turned over to lawyers representing scores of alleged victims of sexual abuse. The records were made public Tuesday by attorneys for clients who are suing the archdiocese over sex abuse.
A Superior Court judge ordered the church to turn over the documents on some 83 priests, and the first round of files or some 3,000 pages pertaining to eight of those were released Tuesday.
Many of the priests whose personnel files are being released are not targeted in the lawsuits. However, the plaintiffs' attorneys hope the documents show the archdiocese had a habit of transferring priests to other parishes even after accusations of child abuse.
The documents released Tuesday indicate that Cardinal Bernard Law, after establishing regulations in 1993 to deal with abusive priests, continued to assign priests to active duty.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey did not immediately return a call to comment.
The Rev. Robert Meffan allegedly recruited girls in the late 1960s to become nuns and then sexually abused them while assigned in Weymouth, according to 1993 letters from Sister Catherine E. Mulkerrin to her boss, the Rev. John McCormack, who was a top aide to Law. Meffan allegedly would counsel the girls to perform sexual acts as a way of progressing with their religious studies.
Meffan allegedly participated in sexual acts with four girls at the same time in a Cape Cod rental, one of the girls told Mulkerrin, according to the 1993 memo.
"They were all young girls planning to be nuns," said attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who represents 247 plaintiffs among dozens of lawsuits against the archdiocese concerning 400 clergy.
The Rev. Thomas Forry, who served in Scituate and Kingston, allegedly built a house on Cape Cod for a woman with whom he carried on an 11-year affair, the documents showed. The woman had gone to him seeking advice because of problems in her marriage. The woman's son later alleged that Forry made sexual advances on him.
A 1992 memo from Mulkerrin to McCormack, currently the bishop in Manchester, N.H., outlined the history of allegations against Forry. Seven years later, Law reassigned Forry from being a prison chaplain at a state prison in Concord to being a roaming, fill-in priest to cover various vacations by priests in the archdiocese. He's currently unassigned.
Plaintiffs' attorneys and victims advocates say the documents show that Law continued to transfer problem priests until recently.
"It's not ancient history, it's very, very recent," said David Clossey, national director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
The Rev. Richard Buntel allegedly used cocaine with boys while serving in Malden. An unsigned handwritten 1994 memo, which MacLeish said was written by McCormack, said Buntel was once known as the "blow king of Malden" blow being slang for cocaine, which is snorted. Buntel served at St. Joseph's from 1978 to 1983.
Mulkerrin, in another memo to McCormack, said an alleged victim told her that Buntel provided cocaine to the boy when he was 15.
"He would snort it in the priest's room 'every time I went' and, in a way, it seemed like an exchange for sex which also happened every time," Mulkerrin wrote.
As of this year, Buntel was employed in a non-ministerial position as a business manager at St. Thomas of Villanova parish in Wilmington.