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Rochester Priest Placed On Leave

May 31, 2002 | WCVB TheBostonChannel.com Another priest in the Boston Archdiocese was placed on administrative leave Friday based on new allegations of past sexual abuse.

NewsCenter 5's Jorge Quiroga reported that the Rev. John Lyons of St. Rose of Lima parish in Rochester, Mass., was placed on leave. The archdiocese did not give any details of the nature of the allegations made against him.

"The allegations made against Father Lyons came to our attention for the first time this past week regarding past instances," spokeswoman Donna Morissey said. "Following our policy, it was determined that the information we had met the criteria to continue the investigation and to place Father Lyons on administrative leave."

The Boston Globe reported Thursday that two men filed a lawsuit against Lyons, alleging that he sexually abused them in the 1970s and 1980s. The men were once altar boys in a Brighton church.

Morrissey said that most parishioners would be learning the news through the media.

"So a great many of them would be shocked, I would imagine, and would hear about this from the media, so that's going to be difficult for them," she said.

The archdiocese also released a letter that will be sent to parishes and included in the church bulletins for next two Sundays outlining the state's new mandated reporting law.

Under the new law, anyone working for the church, whether a member of the clergy or a layperson, is obliged to report any kind of abuse, physical or sexual, whether on an adult or child, unless that information was heard in the confessional.

New allegations of abuse would be referred directly to the Department of Social Services, while older allegations would be sent to the district attorney's office. The penalty for not following the new law is a $1,000 fine.

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