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McCormack deposed for second day in Shanley lawsuit
By J.M Hirsch, Associated Press, 08/15/02
Bob Sherman, one of the lawyers, questioned the bishop for five hours Thursday on behalf of the men, who say they were sexually assaulted by the Rev. Paul Shanley during the 1980s. It was McCormack's second day of questioning.
"We intend to continue the questioning until we are assured that a full and complete recitation of the facts concerning Paul Shanley comes out," Sherman said.
The alleged victims, all now in their mid-20s and from Newton, Mass., have filed lawsuits in Massachusetts, accusing Shanley of molesting them starting when they were about 6 years old while he was assigned to St. Jean Parish in Newton.
The men also claim that Roman Catholic Church officials in Boston, including McCormack, failed to protect them from repeated sexual abuse by the now-retired Shanley, who also faces criminal charges of raping one of the boys.
Sherman would not comment on the subject matter of Thursday's questioning except to say it focused on what McCormack knew and when, and on roughly 1,000 pages of church documents regarding Shanley.
Sherman also said the Archdiocese of Boston has turned over records on 12 priests accused of abuse, but that his firm still is waiting on similar documents on another 80 priests, whose names were given to Massachusetts authorities.
McCormack, who was a top deputy of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law from 1984 until he became bishop in Manchester in 1998, spoke briefly to reporters afterward and said he tried to answer the questions "truthfully, completely and honestly."
The bishop would not answer questions, but repeated his earlier concern for victims of abuse and said he is doing all he can to make sure the church helps them and protects children.
"My message to the victims is that I am sorry for all that has taken place, and regret the hurt and deep scars that many victims have," he said. "We will do as a church all we can for them."
None of the four alleged victims was at the deposition.
McCormack, 67, was first questioned for the case in June, when he told the lawyers he twice dismissed evidence that two priests had sexually abused children because the alleged molesters told him they had done nothing wrong.
The transcript of McCormack's first day of questioning has yet to be released by the court, but The Associated Press reviewed a copy in July.
In it, McCormack said he dismissed accusations against two priests, including an allegation made by another clergyman, because the two told him they had done nothing wrong.
In June, he also was questioned about child-abuse reporting requirements in Massachusetts, where McCormack was a licensed social worker from 1981 to 1988.
McCormack said he did not always report suspicions of abuse to authorities, even though social workers were legally and ethically required to. He said he was working as a priest and priests were legally exempt from reporting requirements.
McCormack said he told people they could go to the police, but that many wanted confidentiality. He said he would report alleged molestation to prosecutors himself, and did so once, if he believed it was continuing and involved a minor.
The lawsuits were filed by Gregory Ford; Paul Busa, whose case also prompted the criminal charges against Shanley; and two other men. Law also is being questioned under oath in the case.
Shanley was arrested in San Diego on May 2 on the rape charges.