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More Church Documents Focus On McCormack

Alleged Victims Say McCormack Could Have Stopped Abuse

Dec 18, 2002 | AP

There are more accusations of abuse surfacing in the Catholic Church scandal and alleged victim's are pointing blame at one man, New Hampshire's Bishop John McCormack.

Three thousand more pages of once-private files were released by the Archdiocese of Boston and they include details on two priests.

The Rev. Joseph Coleman admitted to molesting young boys and a 1987 document signed by McCormack stated, "He admits to a strong attraction of sexuality." Yet, a year and a half later, Boston's Cardinal Law reassigned Coleman to another church.

"I am ending your period of sick leave upon the recommendation of Rev. John McCormack as well as other church officials" Law wrote.

The Rev. Gerard Creighton served for 26 years, and was reassigned about 20 times, even though accusations of his abuse date back to the 1950's.

"I am here today as a victim of sexual abuse by a priest because John McCormack didn't do his job. It's that simple it's that easy," said alleged victim Gary Bergeron.

Bergeron attended a press conference Tuesday, saying it's time to turn the focus on McCormack.

"When the people of New Hampshire see what John McCormack has done to the hundreds of innocent children, they will not want him as their bishop," he said.

Bergeron is one of 55 men calling themselves "survivors of Joseph Birmingham." Bergeron said he was 12 when the now-deceased priest first abused him and he said McCormack could have stopped it. He said McCormack failed to warn parishes and parents about Birmingham's abuse.

Documents show that one mother wrote to the archdiocese asking if it were true that father Birmingham had molested boys.

"I have a son who is an altar boy and have a rightful concern" McCormack wrote back, but did not mention Birmingham was being treated for molesting children.

"I contacted Fr. Birmingham [and] he assured me there is absolutely no factual basis to your concern regarding your son and him hope you find this helpful and that it allays any concerns," McCormack wrote.

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