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Spotlight Report

Director of Milton rehabilitation center faces abuse charge

By Matt Carroll, Globe Staff, 7/18/2002

Rev. Robert P. Beale
The Rev. Robert P. Beale, director of a Milton residence for priests with sexual abuse problems, yesterday was suspended by the Archdiocese of Boston after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor.

The allegation concerned an incident that allegedly occurred more than 25 years ago, said archdiocesan spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey in a statement. She said the allegation was found to be credible.

Beale is the 16th priest to be suspended by the archdiocese since February.

Our Lady's Hall, where Beale was the director and has worked for 20 years, housed priests with sexual abuse problems and has been used as a residential facility for depressed and alcoholic priests. There are no patients at the facility now, said Morrissey. The facility is part of the archdiocese's Priest Recovery Program.

Our Lady's Hall, a brick mansion in an affluent section of Milton, recently has had a rocky history.

The Rev. Ronald H. Paquin, who was removed from a parish in 1990 by the church for molesting children and sent to Our Lady's Hall, had sex with a youth there who at least twice spent the night at the facility, according to the alleged victim. The allegations were contained in a lawsuit filed in Middlesex County in March.

Also, the Rev. Edward T. Kelley, a one-time counselor at the facility, was reclassified as a client this winter after the church received allegations that he had molested children. The archdiocese appeared to have known about the allegations since 1993, when Kelley was placed on sick leave.

Beale, ordained in 1970, has carved out a minor show business career for himself as a member of the "Singing Priests," a group of clerics who perform to raise money for local charities.

While he is under investigation, Beale will continue to receive his salary and benefits, and will not be forbidden from performing public ministry, according to Morrissey.

If the allegation proves to be groundless, "efforts will be made to restore the priest's reputation," said Morrissey.

This is not the first time that the director of a Massachusetts facility that has dealt with priests with sexual issues has run into problems.

The Rev. Thomas A. Kane, executive director of the now-defunct House of Affirmation in Whitinsville, a treatment center, was accused of sexual abuse in a 1993 lawsuit.

A man from Uxbridge alleged he had been molested repeatedly as a child during the 1970s by several priests, including Kane. The case was settled confidentially by the Worcester diocese in 1995, according to a published report.

Matt Carroll can be reached at

This story ran on page A28 of the Boston Globe on 7/18/2002.
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