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Church calls police on demonstrators

Associated Press / January 12, 2009
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SCARBOROUGH, Maine - Church officials called police yesterday when demonstrators showed up to support the mother of a clergy abuse victim, but there were no arrests.

About 30 people, upset about the bishop's failure to meet Marie Tupper in Boothbay Harbor, attended St. Maximilian Kolbe parish, where Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone was installing a new pastor.

The survivor advocates wore buttons and stickers that said, "Bishop Malone: Please Meet with Marie Tupper," said Michael Sweatt, one of the demonstrators. About 25 of the participants, some from as far away as Boston, received Communion but didn't address the bishop.

Police Sergeant Steve Thibodeau confirmed that officers were sent to the church. He said the officers were not needed and there were no arrests.

On Dec. 16, Malone had a police escort when Tupper and a supporter were at an event he attended in Portland's Old Port.

Tupper, who didn't participate in yesterday's event, said she is still waiting for a face-to-face meeting with Malone. "I just don't understand why the bishop won't meet with me," she said. "As I told him, I want to help him to help others in my community, to reach out to victims."

Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for Diocese of Portland, said Tupper met with Malone's predecessor, Bishop Joseph Gerry, and Malone offered for her to meet last month with his highest-ranking assistant. Bernard says Tupper declined the offer.

Tupper contends that a family member was abused by the Rev. Thomas Lee, who was suspended from ministry in 2003 and resigned six months later, after an investigation into allegations of sex abuse of minors. He served in Boothbay in the 1980s.

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