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Ex-Hub Priest, Caretaker Nabbed On Sex Charges

Aug 28, 2002 | The Boston Herald

In separate incidents, police arrested an inactive Boston priest and a church caretaker on child sex charges yesterday, while the Archdiocese of Boston placed two additional clergymen on administrative leave due to molestation accusations.

The Rev. Robert V. Gale was arrested by police at his home in Middleton, N.H., on four counts of child rape in Waltham dating from 1980 to 1984, Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley said. Earlier, Bridgewater police arrested Reed Haviland, 50, a caretaker at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, on 20 child sex counts involving one victim, occurring between June and this month.

Also, the Revs. Paul J. Bolduc, who was in residence at Readville's St. Anne's Parish, and William L. Butler, pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption in Revere, were placed on leave following abuse allegations more than 30 years old, archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said.

The arrest of Gale, who is not in active ministry and was listed in the 1994 Catholic directory as ``awaiting assignment,'' comes after multiple accusers reported him to Bay State and New Hampshire authorities, said Jeffrey Newman, the alleged victims' attorney.

Coakley said a Middlesex grand jury found the accuser in her case credible enough to hand down an indictment.

``Between the ages of 10 and 14, the young man alleges that indecent fondling (and other sexual acts) occurred in (Gale's) suite in the rectory at St. Jude's,'' Coakley said, adding the activity also took place in the priest's car near a Waltham park. Coakley said Gale's residence in New Hampshire allowed the statute of limitations to be tolled, or frozen, narrowly bringing the case within the time window for prosecution.

The statute of limitations on rape is 15 years, which would have culminated on the accuser's 31st birthday a year ago. But Coakley said she did not know precisely how long Gale has lived out of state.

``It is not his official address, so it's not exactly clear how long he's been in New Hampshire,'' she said, estimating Gale's residency there between nine and 12 months.

Reached in Middleton, where he was free on his own recognizance last night on the condition he appear at a Middlesex Court arraignment today, Gale said he was unfamiliar with the tolling provision.

``You're way over my head,'' he said. ``I just walked in the door. I have no idea what's going on.''

Asked if he would appear at today's arraignment, he said, ``As far as I know.''

Attorney Newman said he didn't think Gale's official Massachusetts residency would trump his physical presence in New Hampshire.

In any case, he said, Gale may still face prosecution in New Hampshire for alleged abuse at the church-run Camp Fatima there.

Gale's name appears in church files along with admitted abuser priest Ronald Paquin and convicted pedophile John J. Geoghan - records Newman said indicate Gale was transferred between parishes as much as Geoghan was. ``The central question is how much they knew at the time they shifted him from parish to parish,'' he said.

Morrissey said in a statement the archdiocese is ``continuing to cooperate'' with authorities on Gale's prosecution.

She had no immediate comment on Haviland, though Bridgewater Police Sgt. Christopher Delmonte said the archdiocese has cooperated and suspended the caretaker.

Delmonte described the alleged victim as a teenager under 16 years old and said a search of the church grounds yielded several items of ``possible evidence.''

Morrissey said Bolduc, who was ordained in 1960 and held an assignment at St. Elizabeth's Parish in Milton eight years ago, was on health leave while in residence at Readville's St. Anne's.

Morrissey's statement did not elaborate on the accusations against either Bolduc or Butler.

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