Brooklyn Bishop Thomas V. Daily, formerly a top-ranking official in the Archdiocese of Boston, intervened with Nahant police in 1977 after two patrolmen spotted a priest apparently engaged in a sex act with a teenage boy in a parked car, according to a published report.
Daily assured Nahant’s police chief and the two officers that he would deal with the priest, the Rev. Edward T. Kelley, the Boston Herald reported, citing deposition testimony from a police officer in a civil lawsuit.
Daily, who was then the Boston archdiocese’s vicar general, assured police that Kelley would be formally treated, but archdiocese personnel documents released to plaintiffs’ attorneys and reviewed by the Herald showed no indication that the priest was disciplined or sent for medical help.
Kelley, 58, is the subject of multiple lawsuits from men alleging sex abuse from the mid-1960s into the 1980s. He was suspended from active ministry in 1993 amid abuse charges.
“Kelley could not be prosecuted because Bishop Daily covered up his crime,” said Carmen L. Durso, a Boston lawyer representing alleged sex abuse victims.
“Worse, he was allowed to continue for years in the ministry, and as a result my clients and other boys were sexually abused.”
Frank DeRosa, a spokesman for the Brooklyn diocese, said he had not yet reviewed the claims with Bishop Daily and had no immediate comment.
Daily’s deposition in another case was scheduled to be released Monday. The deposition was taken in August in lawsuits filed by three men who alleged they were molested as children by the Rev. Paul Shanley at St. Jean’s Parish in Newton.
One of the officers involved in Kelley’s 1977 arrest said in a deposition earlier this month that he alerted prosecutors to the case earlier this year after being “shocked … by the magnitude” of the church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal.
“The bottom line is we stumbled on (Kelley) and a 16- or 17-year-old. I pulled him over. I confirmed it was him,” Gerard D. Perry said in his deposition.
“I got upset with him. I yelled and screamed at him (Kelley).”
Perry said police called the residence of the late Cardinal Humberto Medeiros. He said Daily then met with the police chief.
“The chief and the bishop agreed the bishop would handle this. (Kelley) would go to some place. My vague recollection is New Mexico. Never saw him, never heard of him. No follow up.”
The chief, Joseph Melanson, retired soon afterward and has since died.
Durso said Kelley’s archdiocese personnel filed contains a two-page typewritten letter from the patrolmen detailing the 1977 case.