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Spotlight Report

Statement by the Boston Archdiocese on Foley settlement


A statement issued by the Boston Archdiocese regarding the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the children of a woman who had an affair with a priest:

"The Archdiocese of Boston is pleased to announce that a settlement agreement has been reached among the Archdiocese and the members of the Perry family. The settlement agreement was reached through the offices of Mediator Paul A. Finn of Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation.

Archbishop O'Malley sincerely regrets that a sexual relationship existed between a priest of the Archdiocese and Rita Perry, as well as the involvement of Father Foley in the tragic circumstances of her death. Archbishop O'Malley has already met with the members of the Perry family to express his apology directly to them and to express his further regret with regard to all that the Perrys have suffered since the revelation of these tragic events last year.

Our hope is that the settlement will bring some measure of healing to the Perry family. This tragic situation illustrates the inherently exploitive and harmful nature of sexual relationships between priests and parishioners.

Last October, the Archdiocese issued a Code of Ministerial Behavior which prohibits such relationships in the strongest possible language. That policy makes clear that priests of the Archdiocese, as well as other Archdiocesan personnel, must never engage in any covert or overt sexual behavior with those for whom they have a professional or pastoral responsibility. Sexual relationships between a priest and any person are never appropriate, are a violation of the sacred vow of celibacy, and are a violation of the trust which parishioners place in their priests.

This new Code of Ministerial Behavior will be vigorously enforced. The Code, while presently in effect, has been issued in the hope that comments for improvements will be received during the year after its issuance, and we have invited the members of the Perry family to comment on the Policy.

Archbishop O'Malley has also invited Jim Perry to participate in the Advisory Board which Barbara Thorp, the director of the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, is establishing and we hope in that way Jim will be able to convey to others the destructive impact of any sexual relationship between a priest and parishioner and to assist the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach in responding to others who are in need or who have suffered on account of such relationships.

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