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Report Says Boston Priest Handling Abuse Cases Sued

Aug 17, 2002 | AP

A Boston priest whose responsibilities include handling cases of alleged clergy sexual abuse has been accused in a civil lawsuit of repeatedly fondling a teenage altar boy two decades ago, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Monsignor Michael Smith Foster, who is the archdiocese's judicial vicar, is the highest-ranking Roman Catholic priest to face sexual abuse allegations in the Boston area, the epicenter of the widening church scandal, the paper said.

As a judicial vicar, Foster is responsible for providing advice on canon law to church officials in cases involving issues ranging from annulments to sexual abuse, according to the report.

The paper said Foster did not respond to a request for comment through church officials, and his attorney did not return phone calls. The alleged victim's attorney, Eric Parker, also did not return phone calls to his office.

Donna Morrissey, the archdiocese spokeswoman, said in a statement that church officials had not been notified of the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court, the Post said.

In the lawsuit, the alleged victim, now in his 30s, says Foster molested him between 1980 and 1985 when he was a high school student and an altar boy in the Boston suburb of Newton, the Post reported.

During those years, Foster worked as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish and served as a supervisor in the church's Catholic Youth Organization, the Post said, citing the lawsuit.

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