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Spotlight Report

Cleric recommended amid concerns

Letters ignored alleged misdeeds

By Sacha Pfeiffer, Globe Staff, 2/28/2003

This much the Archdiocese of Boston knew: that the Rev. Dozia J. Wilson had been forced out of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., after police complaints about an alleged inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy.

Church officials also knew that Wilson was later accused of drinking and carousing with boys at the St. Joseph church rectory in Roxbury, where he was assigned from 1976 to 1979.

And they knew of another item on Wilson's resume of alleged misconduct - taking parish funds for his personal use.

But none of that stopped Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros and Bishop Thomas V. Daily, then vicar general of the archdiocese, from writing a total of three nearly identical letters of recommendation as Wilson sought to continue in ministry in two other states and as a US Navy chaplain.

''He has expressed to me his desire for a change,'' Daily wrote to the dioceses of Richmond, Va., and Tulsa, Okla., in 1979, and Medeiros wrote to the US Navy in 1978.

''I agree that a change would be helpful to him and I pray that the generous spirit that led him to the priesthood will, in God's providence, enable him to fulfill an ever-more effective ministry among God's people.''

Daily, who now heads the Brooklyn and Queens Diocese, the fifth largest in the nation, wrote his letters after advising Medeiros that Wilson be removed from his Roxbury assignment and returned to Albany. Medeiros, who also knew of complaints against Wilson, finally ordered him to leave St. Joseph's in May 1979 - and later told the bishop of Tulsa he had ''nothing to add'' to Daily's assessment of Wilson's ministry.

Wilson's personnel file, which was made public yesterday by Greenberg Traurig, the Boston law firm that represents at least 200 alleged clergy abuse victims, offers further evidence of the roles Medeiros and Daily played in covering up for abusive priests. Daily, who also served as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard F. Law, has been named as a defendant in dozens of clergy abuse lawsuits for his role in transferring alleged abusers.

Despite the recommendations, Wilson did not find work in Tulsa, Richmond, or in the Navy. After leaving Boston, Wilson returned to ministry in New York State, but left the priesthood in 1993.

Wilson, who has a non-published number in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, an Archdiocese of Boston spokesman, said that Wilson's case ''is an other example of how things in the past were not handled well.''

Sacha Pfeiffer can be reached at

This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 2/28/2003.
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