New Hampshire Bishop John B. McCormack, a former aide to Bernard Cardinal Law, wrote a letter to parishioners at Jaffrey’s St. Patrick Parish acknowledging a sexual relationship by their priest, the Rev. Roland Cote, with a teenage boy in the 1980s yesterday.
Cote also apologized, reading a letter to his congregation asking forgiveness for the relationship, but stating that the young man was 18 at the time.
“What I did was wrong, but it did not involve a minor or a parishioner,” Cote said.
McCormack said Cote’s actions did not violate the Diocese of Manchester’s policies on child sex abuse and that he made the right decision when he appointed Cote to St. Patrick in June, the same period he was being deposed in the Rev. Paul R. Shanely case.
But a witness at an unrelated deposition, McCormack vacilated on the age of the young man, sometimes saying he was 17, and other times saying he was 18 or 19, according to Associated Press.
Sources have told the AP the boy was 15 or 16, and that had he been older, there would have been no grounds for a criminal investigation by the Sullivan County Attorney’s office.
In Boston, meanwhile, Law appeared at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross after a trip to Rome, but did not address the church scandal.
Instead, he offered the support of Catholic Charities to Boston janitors on the eve of their possible strike.