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Archive for Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Personnel files on seven more Boston priests released

December 10, 2002

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— A Roman Catholic priest whose personnel file contained a warning from a church official that he "fools around with kids" was assigned to several parishes, then was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl, according to records released Monday.

The Boston Archdiocese's personnel files on the Rev. William Scanlan were among hundreds of pages related to seven priests who faced sexual misconduct allegations. The files were released by lawyers representing hundreds of alleged abuse victims seeking to show the archdiocese routinely reassigned priests to hide the misconduct.

Last week, the lawyers released thousands of pages of similar files.

The archdiocese had fought release of the files, but a judge ordered they be turned over to plaintiffs' lawyers.

Unlike the first round of files, which contained some of the most shocking allegations to date, Monday's records show the archdiocese took at least some allegations of sexual abuse by priests more seriously than those made before a written policy on abuse was instituted in 1993.

In the Scanlan case, however, the files show the archdiocese assigned the priest to several parishes after concerns were raised about him in 1987.

Notes written in July 1987 by an unidentified church official say, "He is going to cause me a problem. He fools around with kids. He is in difficulty."

Scanlan was assigned to a prison ministry, then returned to parishes.

A decade later, Scanlan was accused of raping a troubled 12-year-old girl he had been advising at St. James in Stoughton, allegedly telling her when she resisted that "God wanted him to."

The personnel records show another priest, the Rev. Paul Manning, was removed from his ministry in Woburn, even after he was acquitted of indecent assault and battery of an 11-year-old boy in 1993, and after the alleged victim's parents denied he had been assaulted.

The files also include records of a priest dismissed by Cardinal Bernard Law in 1995 for kissing a 19-year-old seminarian, and a priest removed from the ministry in May, two months after the archdiocese received a letter from a woman claiming her brother had been raped by him in the early 1960s.

Meanwhile, officials of the church declined to explain the reasons for Cardinal Bernard Law's sudden trip to Rome this week, but experts on the Vatican predicted that both Law's future and his archdiocese's possible bankruptcy would be discussed.

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