Clergy sexual abuse lawyer adds 3 to alleged perpetrator list after settlement with Archdiocese of Boston
BOSTON – Mitchell Garabedian, whose law firm has secured countless clergy sexual abuse settlements or arbitral awards on behalf of clients, has released the names of three priests contained in a recent settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston.
All three names were posted on the company’s website.
“The survivors want me to publish the names of their perpetrators as part of the healing process,” Garabedian said in reference to the list he publishes regarding monetary rewards in which the accused can maintain their innocence, because such compensation is not an admission of guilt.
Survivors and their advocates have long called for more transparency and comprehensiveness from the church on clergy accused of sexual abuse, with some law firms publishing lists of accused clergy linked to the settlements. Some dioceses publish data when the allegations are deemed credible. In Massachusetts, Worcester and Fall River do not have such a list, while Springfield and Boston do.
The Archdiocese of Boston lists the names of priests who have been convicted or sanctioned for such charges as a result of criminal or religious proceedings, as well as those living in the clergy of the Archdiocese with such unresolved high profile cases.
It does not list deceased clergymen who have not been publicly accused and have had no ecclesiastical proceedings conducted or completed on sexual allegations against them, even when the Archdiocese grants compensation in a case involving such allegations made after their deaths.
In his explanation of why his Archdiocese does not list these accused priests after their deaths, Cardinal Sean O’Malley wrote that “it is extremely difficult to determine the credibility of these accusations, given that they relate to questions which generally happened decades ago ”. and that the deceased has “no chance of responding to the allegations made against him”.
A negotiated settlement does not imply an admission of guilt.
Allegations of indecent assault and bodily harm to a child, as reported in Garabedian’s three separate recent claims to the Archdiocese, date back decades, and Garabedian said they were brought forward to the over the past two years.
He said a complaint concerned Reverend Sylvio Ruest who allegedly “sexually assaulted a male child at least five times, who was then around 13 to 14 years old,” when Ruest was assigned to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Marie in Bellingham. .
Another complaint concerned Reverend T. Raymond Sullivan, who allegedly “sexually abused a male child at least twice, then about 14 years old,” when Sullivan was assigned to St. Theresa’s Church in Dracut, Garabedian said.
In the third complaint, Garabedian said Reverend John Salvucci allegedly “sexually abused a male child at least 20 times who was then around 15 to 17 years old,” when Salvucci was assigned to St. Mary’s Church. in Billerica.
Ruest and Sullivan are now deceased, Garabedian said, adding that he had no information about Salvucci.
The Archdiocese announced this week that Reverend James E. Gaudreau, who was placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese in 2012 for an allegation of child sexual abuse in 2006, had been convicted of such abuse and given a sanction. of a life of prayer and penance affirmed by the Vatican.
It was not clear what church process was involved and whether Gaudreau, the former pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Lynn, had appealed a decision at some point.
Bishops in general, with the help of a review commission, investigate the allegations and can then send documentation to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican on how to proceed in terms of investigation and more in-depth sanction.
Gaudreau, who previously served on the board of trustees of St. John’s Seminary in Boston, came to St. Joseph Parish in 1984 to serve for several years as a Spanish apostolate in the Lynn area. He became pastor of the church in 1993.
The archdiocese put him on administrative leave and informed the police when he declared to have learned, in 2012, of the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor which would have taken place in “approximately 2006” .
In 2013, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office said Gaudreau was not charged after a year-long investigation and, through his lawyer, Gaudreau released a statement saying he knew that he “was innocent of any wrongdoing” and “would be completely exonerated.”
The archdiocese said at the time that the conclusion of the criminal investigation would allow it to move forward with the “ecclesiastical process”.
In a 2014 Facebook post, Gaudreau, who is now almost 70, told his supporters that his resignation as parish priest of Saint Joseph had been requested and that the investigative process had been referred by Rome to a other diocese.
Sometimes in such cases the convicted priest is removed from the clerical state or sentenced to a life of prayer and penance. The subsequent sanction, under which Gaudreau is now listed on the Archdiocese’s website, allows the Church to continue to support financially.
Survivor groups have called for the permanent removal from the clerical state of any priest determined to have sexually assaulted a minor.
The Archdiocese also announced this week the Vatican’s dismissal of the clerical state of John Lyons, a former Rochester priest who was put on administrative leave by the Archdiocese in 2002 after two men filed a lawsuit. accusing him of sexually assaulting them in the 1970s and 1980s at a church in Brighton.
Lyons was acquitted in 2005 by a Brockton Superior Court jury of the rape of a young parishioner in the 1980s, who reported the allegations to law enforcement in 2002 and for which Lyons was arrested.
The parishioner received a settlement based on these allegations from the archdiocese.
Lyon is listed on the Archdiocese’s website as dismissed from the clerical state.