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Spotlight Report

Latest files include graphic description

By Sacha Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff, 1/18/2003

The latest round of priest personnel files released yesterday includes a graphic allegation against a priest who formerly served in Hudson who is accused of repeatedy abusing a boy in the 1970s and introducing him to the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, who then allegedly offered the boy to other men.

The priest, the Rev. Thomas M. Curran, was removed as pastor of St. Michael's Parish in Hudson and placed on administrative leave in early August when the complaint, which church officials described at the time as having ''enough substance to warrant further investigation,'' was made.

The alleged victim says that Curran orally and digitally raped him and that he and Shanley forced him to perform sex acts with them in an area near a path along the Charles River in Brighton.

Reached by telephone, Curran vehemently denied the allegation, noting that his accuser was convicted in Middlesex Superior Court in 1991 of repeatedly raping a young boy and was sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison.

''None of it's true,'' said Curran, 57, who has been staying with a sister since he was placed on leave Aug. 2. ''I'm not guilty of any of these things.''

''I have never had a complaint until this came from a person serving 40 years for forced rape of a boy,'' Curran said. ''Now some psychopath from a prison gets me thrown out'' of ministry.

Curran said he does not know his accuser and knows Shanley only by name. Curran, who was ordained in 1970, said he has come in contact with thousands of children during his career, which included a stint as chaplain of Boston State College and as school psychologist at the Gaebler Children's Center at Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham in the 1970s.

Curran said he was prison chaplain in Concord and Walpole, where he often provided inmates with information about his background. He said a prisoner might have used that information to lodge a false allegation.

Curran's first assignment after ordination was at St. Mary's Parish in Cambridge, where the first incidents of abuse allegedly took place. After working in hospital and prison ministry, he became pastor at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Cambridge in 1988.

He was unassigned for about nine months from 1989 to 1990, during which time he said he was treated for alcohol abuse. He was later assigned to St. Joseph's in Belmont and Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere before transferring to Hudson.

The complaint against Curran and Shanley was made during an hour and 45 minute prison interview with the alleged victim, who gave what a church interviewer later described in a memo as a ''clear and highly detailed account of sexual molestation.''

The same victim alleged that he was molested by another, unknown priest in 1965.

Curran and his Cambridge attorney, Russell B. Higley, said they have received few details about the complaint despite repeated requests to the church.

''Those that are guilty deserve to be hung and those that are not deserve to get back to ministry and their flocks,'' said Higley. ''But we can't get any information, period, and we just sit here in limbo. There are supposed to be due process rights for priests and right now, as far as I can see, there are none.''

Attorneys from the law firm Greenberg Traurig, which represents about half of the 500 people with outstanding claims against the archdiocese, also released files on:

The Rev. Frederick J. Cartier, Jr., who is accused in a June letter to the archdiocese of repeatedly molesting a teenage boy at St. Barbara's rectory in Woburn and on overnight camping trips to New Hampshire in about 1970.

The Rev. Randall Gillette, a priest of the Passionist order who is accused in a September letter to the archdiocese of sexually assaulting a boy at St. Gabriel's Parish in Brighton in 1972.

The Rev. J. Kevin McAndrews, who is accused in a June lawsuit of sexually molesting a minor at various places, including St. Athanasius Parish in Reading, where the priest served from 1968 to 1975. McAndrews died in 1986 at the age of 63.

The Rev. James W. O'Neil, a Jesuit priest who is accused in a May letter to the archdiocese of sexually abusing a boy, 12, at Immaculate Conception rectory in Everett in 1957 after telling the boy he wanted to hear his confession.

The Rev. James J. Tully (also spelled Tulley in church records), a member of Xaverian Missionaries who is accused in an April letter to the archdiocese of sexually molesting a parishioner at St. Brendan's in Bellingham in 1970.

Cartier, Gillette, O'Neil and Tully could not be reached.

Sacha Pfeiffer can be reached at

This story ran on page A18 of the Boston Globe on 1/18/2003.
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