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Spotlight Report

5 Reardon victims file suits

By Kathleen Burge, Globe Staff, 3/2/2002

Five victims of convicted pedophile and former church worker Christopher Reardon filed lawsuits yesterday against the Archdiocese of Boston and the Danvers YMCA where Reardon assaulted some of his victims.

In the lawsuits, the victims and their parents are asking a judge to place a $2.5 million lien on property owned by the Danvers YMCA and a $2.5 million lien on property owned by the archdiocese in parts of Essex County. Alan Grenier, the lawyer for the five victims and their parents, said he made the request after reports suggesting that the archdiocese has exhausted its insurance coverage for sexual assault cases.

Also named as defendants in the suit are James Flanagan and the Rev. Thomas Dunne, who both worked in the archdiocese Youth Ministry office, and Reardon himself. Flanagan and Dunne received at least two phone calls about Reardon from concerned parishioners prior to Reardon's arrest, according to two former church workers, who requested anonymity.

Reardon, a Middleton youth minister who also taught swimming at the Danvers YMCA, pleaded guilty last July to sexual crimes involving the five victims, as well as 19 other boys, just as his criminal trial was about to begin. He was sentenced to 40-50 years in prison.

Grenier said he filed the lawsuits because settlement negotiations with the archdiocese were not fruitful. He represents another half-dozen alleged victims who may also file lawsuits in the next few weeks, he said.

"I have the impression that [archdiocese officials] are in a state of disarray and confusion," Grenier said. "I just don't think they can cope with all of these claims coming at once from all these different directions."

A Globe Spotlight Team investigation found that the archdiocese has settled child molestation claims against at least 70 priests. About 80 civil lawsuits are still pending against one former priest, John Geoghan, who has begun serving six years of a 9-10 year sentence for fondling one boy a decade ago.

Jeffrey Newman, a lawyer who also represents some of Reardon's victims, called Grenier's request for real estate liens "unnecessary" and said the church has assured him that insurance will cover the claims.

Farah Stockman of the Globe staff contributed to this report

This story ran on page B5 of the Boston Globe on 3/2/2002.
Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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