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Spotlight Report

Waltham priest faces allegation

By Ralph Ranalli, Globe Staff, 10/15/2002

Church officials for the Archdiocese of Boston yesterday announced that they have placed the pastor of a Waltham church on administrative leave while they investigate a 20-year-old allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor that surfaced recently.

The Rev. Roger N. Jacques, pastor of St. Joseph Parish on Main Street, was removed "from all assignments" pending the results of an investigation by the archdiocese, spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey said in a written statement last night.

Church officials said they will turn details of the allegation over to the state attorney general's office within 48 hours, in accordance with an agreement reached between the archdiocese and law enforcement officials earlier this year.

"Our obligation as representatives of the Church and as a community, legally and morally, is to fully investigate all allegations of abuse of a minor," Morrissey said.

"Until the resolution by representatives of the Church and by the proper authorities is complete, Father Jacques will receive a salary and medical benefits, but he will not have permission to perform any public ministry in the church," Morrissey said. "As in all cases, efforts are made to respect the rights of all parties and, to the best of our ability, to maintain their reputations. Should the allegation be proven groundless, we will do all we can to restore the priest's reputation."

Church officials did not release details of the allegations against Jacques; they did say that it involved sexual misconduct with a minor that would have occurred "approximately 20 years ago."

Jacques was ordained in 1978, according to the archdiocese. His 106-year-old parish, St. Joseph, is part of the archdiocese's French apostolate, offering Masses in French.

Efforts to reach Jacques yesterday were unsuccessful.

The archdiocese's statement said that church officials have met with staff at the parish and that counselors, support personnel, and Bishop Richard G. Lennon would be present at Masses this weekend to discuss the situation.

This story ran on page A6 of the Boston Globe on 10/15/2002.
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