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Spotlight Report

Church to meet on abuse charge

By Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff, 8/16/2002

The former husband of a woman who says she was sexually abused by a priest in 1983 said he has arranged to meet with officials of the Boston archdiocese to provide details of the alleged assaults.

Even though Cardinal Bernard F. Law in 1984 dismissively turned aside a complaint about the alleged abuse by the Rev. Anthony J. Rebeiro, Gregory B. Nash said at a news conference yesterday that he wanted the archdiocese to have as much information as possible in determining whether Rebeiro molested others.

Roderick MacLeish of the Boston law firm Greenberg Traurig, who represents Nash, said Barbara Thorpe, the archdiocean official responsible for reaching out to victims, had agreed to meet with Nash and possibly his former wife (the couple divorced in 1993) for an interview as soon as the session could be scheduled.

Rebeiro, 71, was suspended from his chaplain's post at Quigley Memorial Hospital and Soldiers' Home in Chelsea on Saturday because of an allegation that he molested a child at St. Linus Church in Natick in the early 1970s.

After learning of Rebeiro's removal through a television report, Nash contacted the Globe to tell of the two incidents in which the priest, then associate pastor at St. Mary's Church in Franklin, allegedly assaulted his former wife and their unsuccessful efforts to persuade the archdiocese to investigate the case. This week, Rebeiro denied that he had made any inappropriate advances toward Nash's former wife.

The Globe reported yesterday that after being rebuffed by St. Mary's pastor Henry P. Boivin and Auxiliary Bishop Daniel A. Hart, Nash sought a meeting with Law. In a four-page letter to Law, who had taken over as Boston's archbishop three days before, Nash detailed the anguish his wife had suffered because of the alleged incidents and their frustration at the brusque treatment they received when they turned to the church for help.

Law rebuffed Nash's request for a meeting. In a brief letter marked CONFIDENTIAL, the cardinal said: ''After some consultation, I find that this matter is personal to Father Rebeiro and must be considered such.''

This story ran on page A32 of the Boston Globe on 8/16/2002.
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