THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Victims claim '80s abuse by late Mass. priest

December 9, 2010

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BRAINTREE, Mass.—Three former altar boys have accused a now-deceased Lowell priest of repeatedly sexually abusing them in the 1980s just before they'd perform their duties at Mass.

The alleged victims say they were between ages 6 and 10 when the Rev. Czeslaw Szymanski (Shesh-LAV' Sih-MAN'-ski) fondled them in a room where priests and altar boys don robes.

The abuse allegedly happened between 1982 and 1987 when Szymanski worked at Holy Trinity Parish. Szymanski, ordained in Poland by the Order of St. Paul the First Hermit, died in a 1987 car accident. The alleged victims' attorney, Carmen Durso, said his clients believe there could be up to 20 other victims.

In a statement, the Boston Archdiocese said Thursday it appreciates the "courage" of those who came forward and will work to resolve their claims.