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Former Priest, Now In N.H., Named In Lawsuits

One Claim Accuses Robert Towner Of Raping Teen Boy

Jan 30, 2003 | AP A former priest who now lives in Laconia is among those named in a new batch of church abuse lawsuits.

Alleged victims filed 70 new claims Wednesday against the Archdiocese of Boston, already staggering under the burden of hundreds of sex abuse lawsuits.

One claim accuses former priest Robert Towner of raping a teenage boy while another priest watched. The lawsuit says the other priest then joined in molesting the boy.

The other priest was suspended from active ministry a year ago following different allegationst. Towner, who lives in Laconia, left the priesthood in 1990 and is married with children. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire Bishop John McCormack nearly canceled his meeting with church abuse victims earlier this week because he didn't want victim supporters to attend.

About 20 people were excluded from the meeting in Salem, Mass., Tuesday night between McCormack and abuse survivors.

McCormack's spokesman, Pat McGee, said the bishop threatened to cancel the meeting because he had not agreed to meet with anyone but the victims. He said there might be a time and place for such a meeting.

Maggie Fogarty, a member of New Hampshire Voice of the Faithful, said the victims wanted witnesses, observers and supporters at the meeting. She says people should ask why McCormack refused.

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