Choir director faces sex charge

Placed on leave by archdiocese

By Emily Sweeney
Globe Staff / May 31, 2010

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

  • E-mail|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

A choir director accused of sexual misconduct was arrested over the weekend and placed on leave from St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Woburn.

Thomas DeBlois, 47, of Woburn, faces one charge of enticement of a child, according to Woburn police.

After his arrest Saturday, DeBlois was released on $500 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow morning in Woburn District Court.

The Archdiocese of Boston announced that DeBlois was placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Archdiocese officials said they reported the allegation immediately to local law enforcement authorities, and are cooperating fully with the Middlesex district attorney’s office, the Woburn Police Department, and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families in the investigation.

It is unclear when the alleged sexual misconduct occurred; Woburn police said the investigation is continuing but declined to comment further.

News of the arrest sent shockwaves through the 148-year-old St. Charles parish, which serves 6,900 people.

Janice Bushee, 48, of Burlington attended the 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Charles yesterday.

She said the priest informed parishioners about the arrest of DeBlois, asked them to pray for those involved, and assured them that the church was cooperating with the investigation.

“Usually when you go to church, you don’t hear those kind of speeches,’’ she said.

“My grandmother would be rolling in her grave. She went to that church when she was little. My sister got married at that church.’’

When asked if she was surprised by the arrest, Bushee said, “Nothing surprises me anymore. It’s a shame if it’s true.’’

DeBlois has worked for St. Charles Borromeo Parish since 1992 and currently holds the titles of choir director and director of music.

He previously taught music at the St. Charles Borromeo School, the parish elementary school that enrolls students from preschool through eighth grade.

Archdiocese officials said in a press release that all parish employees and volunteers who work with children are required to undergo background screening checks every year.

DeBlois was last screened in January and no criminal entries were found on his record, according to archdiocese officials.

Church officials released a statement yesterday that said: “The Archdiocese of Boston is working closely with Rev. Timothy J. Shea, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, and the school principal to support the parish and school communities as they process this difficult news.’’

Shea and archdiocese spokeswoman Kelly Lynch did not return phone calls seeking comment. The Middlesex district attorney’s office declined comment.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.

Connect with

Twitter Follow us on @BostonUpdate, other Twitter accounts