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Director Of Rehab Center For Priests Suspended Over Sex Abuse Allegation

Jul 18, 2002 | AP

The director of a rehabilitation center for priests accused of molesting children has himself been suspended over sexual abuse allegations dating to the 1970s.

The Rev. Robert Beale was placed on administrative leave Wednesday by the Archdiocese of Boston after church officials reviewed an allegation that Beale molested a minor while a parish priest.

Donna Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, would not release details but said church officials found the allegation credible.

She said the rehabilitation center, Our Lady's Hall, currently has no patients.

Beale did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Our Lady's Hall, a stately brick mansion in the well-to-do Boston suburb of Milton, made headlines in March when the Rev. Ronald Paquin was accused in a lawsuit of repeatedly molesting a teen-age boy there in the 1990s. Paquin had been sent to the center by the archdiocese for allegedly molesting children.

The alleged victim, who was 14 and 15 at the time, told The Boston Globe he visited Paquin's bedroom at the center several dozen times and spent the night there at least twice. He said the other priests never questioned his presence. Paquin is now awaiting trial on three unrelated counts of child rape.

Another priest at Our Lady's Hall, the Rev. Edward T. Kelley, was reclassified earlier this year from counselor to client after the church received allegations that he, too, had molested children. Kelley has since left the center.

Beale had worked at Our Lady's Hall for two decades. He is the 18th priest in the archdiocese suspended since January, when the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the nation's Roman Catholic Church erupted in Boston. Since then, at least 250 priests nationwide have either been dismissed or resigned.

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