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Spotlight Report

2 more priests suspended after abuse allegations

By Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer, Globe Staff, 8/28/2002

The Archdiocese of Boston suspended two priests yesterday, including the longtime pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Revere, after new allegations that each had sexually abused a minor more than 30 years ago.

The Rev. William L. Butler, 67, of Revere, and the Rev. Paul J. Bolduc, 67, who was on health leave but living at St. Anne Parish in Readville, were placed on paid administrative leave.

Reached last night at his home on Cape Cod, Butler strenuously denied the allegation, saying, ''I have never heard such a total prevarication of the truth.''

Butler said that the archdiocese had notified him Monday afternoon that an accusation had been made against him, and that he met yesterday with officials at the chancery, where he learned details of the allegation.

According to Butler, the complaint involves an allegation involving a purported incident in the summer of 1966, when he was assigned to St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Hull. Butler said he had been accused of taking a 13-year-old male parishioner to his family's home on Prince Edward Island in Canada, where he was alleged to have molested the boy.

Butler said he knows his accuser and his family, although he said he has not been in touch with them for several years. And he said he never took the boy to the Canada house.

He also said it would have been impossible for him to have traveled there that summer because his parish duties had prevented him from taking vacation for the period.

In addition, Butler said: ''This kid is saying I brought him up to our farm with cows and chickens - but we don't have a farm. Where he got this Prince Edward Island thing, I have no idea.''

Butler said he sympathizes with the archdiocese as it struggles to handle the sex abuse crisis, but also said he is disappointed with how the church has dealt with accused priests.

''I think we've been dropped like hot potatoes,'' said Butler, who was ordained in 1961. ''After almost 42 years of priesthood it just amazes me that you can be tossed aside like a piece of refuse.''

He said he plans to hire a lawyer and an investigator to fight the allegation.

''A lot of prayer is not going to solve the problem,'' Butler added. ''I'm not against prayer, don't get me wrong. But please - when somebody puts a hot poker in your eye, you better be ready. It's a sad way to end your career as a priest.''

Butler had been pastor at St. Mary's in Revere since 1986. Before that, he was at Sacred Heart in Medford.

Bolduc has been on sick leave since 1999. He also served at St. Thomas Aquinas in Jamaica Plain in 1994 and 1995, and prior to that he served at St. Elizabeth's Hospital since at least 1983. He could not be reached for comment.

The priests were the 21st and 22d to be have been placed on leave by the archdiocese since the sex scandal broke in January.

The news shocked parishioners at St. Mary's in Revere.

''I have nothing but praise for Father Butler,'' said Torey De Francesco, a parishioner for more than 30 years, who said he was stunned by news of the allegation. ''I'm just overwhelmed by the news. He's very well liked in the parish.''

Matt Carroll can be e-mailed at Sacha Pfeiffer can be e-mailed at

This story ran on page A11 of the Boston Globe on 8/28/2002.
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