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Bristol DA rips Bishop For Late List Of Alleged Abusers

Sep 27, 2002 | The Boston Herald

The Bristol County DA sternly rebuked the departing bishop of Fall River yesterday for letting a decade go by after the prosecution of the Rev. James R. Porter to hand over the names of 21 other priests ousted amid sex abuse allegations.

``Why didn't (Bishop Sean. P. O'Malley) release these names to us 10 years ago?'' DA Paul F. Walsh asked at a New Bedford news conference, during which he also announced the two-count indictment of one former Fall River Diocese priest, the Rev. Donald J. Bowen.

The indictment charges Bowen, 64, currently in Bolivia as a missionary with the Boston-based Society of St. James The Apostle, with abusing a girl for seven years starting when she was 9, while he ministered in Fall River in the 1960s and 1970s.

His indictment was reported in yesterday's Herald. Neither the society nor Bowen's lawyer, Peter Muse, would comment yesterday.

Walsh said he was able to obtain the indictment because any statute of limitations on the allegations froze after Bowen left the country, and the victim is willing to testify.

In publicizing the names of the 21 other former Fall River Diocese priests, who all left the church amid abuse allegations, Walsh said he was dismayed those names had not been released until March.

Walsh said he might have been able to prosecute more of the suspect priests before the statute of limitations on them also expired.

``That is the worst result of this state of affairs,'' he said, ``and that is why I am so disturbed by this.''

O'Malley, who won praise in the 1990s for rescuing his 200-priest Southern Massachusetts diocese from the devastation wrought by the Porter case, defended his actions yesterday in a news release.

O'Malley ``has cooperated fully with the district attorney and his office to ensure the safety and protection of children in parishes and diocese settings,'' his release said.

While acknowledging that the 21 names were not handed over until six months ago, he added: ``No priest named . . . is currently engaged in priestly ministry.'' O'Malley also said some of the names were previously known to law enforcement and that in some cases the abuse dates back 50 years.

O'Malley was recently appointed bishop of West Palm Beach, Fla.

Walsh said he released the names to encourage possible victims to step forward so he can weigh more indictments.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who negotiated settlements on behalf of scores of Porter victims, commended Walsh for releasing the names. ``This validates the victims who have suffered in silence,'' he said, ``and opens up the possibility of more prosecutions.''

Here is a list of the priests named yesterday and their legal status:

1. Raymond McCarthy; four alleged victims.

2. Gilbert Simoes; six alleged victims; beyond the statute of limitations.

3. Paul Connelly; eight alleged victims; beyond statute.

4. Arthur DeMello; one alleged victim; beyond statute.

5. John Cronin; three alleged victims; beyond the statute.

6. Norman Boulet; two alleged victims; beyond statute.

7. James Murphy; three alleged victims; beyond statute.

8. Donald J. Bowen; indicted.

9. Stephen Furtado; one alleged victim; no jurisdiction because incident was outside Bristol County.

10. Donald Messier; one alleged victim; beyond statute.

11. Stanley Barney, one alleged victim; beyond statute.

12. Phillip Higgins, one alleged victim; beyond statute.

13. Kevin Tripp; two alleged victims; beyond statute.

14. Raymond Robillard; two alleged victims; beyond statute.

15. David Landry; one alleged victim; beyond statute.

16. Joseph McQuire; one alleged victim; victim not interested in pursuing case.

17. Edward Rausch; one alleged victim; beyond statute.

18. Robert Kaszynski: four alleged victims; beyond statute.

19. Albert Berube: one alleged victim; deceased.

20. Edward Paquette; four alleged victims; beyond statute.

21. George Avellar; one alleged victim; deceased.

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