The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


Alleged clergy abuse victim arrested

Planned to confront priest, police say

By Michael Rezendes and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff, 3/29/2002

A self-described victim of clergy sexual abuse was arrested by Chelsea police yesterday after allegedly trying to confront the priest he has accused of molesting him, and leading police on a brief car chase.

Chelsea Police Chief Frank Garvin said police subdued Garry M. Garland after they were informed by his attorney that Garland was looking for Monsignor Frederick J. Ryan at a Chelsea residence where Ryan has been living since he was placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Boston last week.

''There was something similar to a knife in the car but it was never used as a weapon,'' Garvin said.

But a law enforcement source who asked to remain unidentified said police found a meat cleaver on the front seat of Garland's car, and a receipt that showed it had been purchased yesterday.

The source also said police found a note apparently written by Garland that ''expressed love to his wife and [four] children.'' The note did not mention suicide, but Garland, when confronted by an arresting officer, said, ''I wish you shot me,'' the source said.

Ryan was not harmed and remained inside the duplex on Revere Beach Parkway as police and firefighters surrounded the residence and waited for Garland to arrive, police said.

Garland, 38, a Hanover man with a record of prior assaults, arrived at Ryan's home at about 4:30 p.m., driving a BMW, and refused to stop, police said.

After chasing Garland several blocks into Everett, police arrested Garland and charged him with disorderly conduct and three motor vehicle violations. ''I am not resisting arrest,'' Garland reportedly shouted to police.

Carmen Gomez, 14, was playing nearby when she heard sirens and saw several police and unmarked cars with flashing lights block a silver BMW, she said.

''I saw the lights and heard the police yelling for him to get out of the car, and he was yelling something back,'' Gomez said. She said Garland got out of the car and lay face-down in the street, where police handcuffed him.

Police said they were told earlier yesterday by Garland's lawyer, Daniel J. Shea of Houston, that Garland might attempt to confront Ryan.

''When I got wind that Garry might even be considering going near Monsignor Ryan ... I alerted the Chelsea Police Department and, sure enough, Garry showed up there,'' Shea said in an interview with WBZ-AM.

Chelsea police said yesterday they were evaluating Garland's medical and psychological condition and that he will be arraigned on disorderly conduct and motor vehicle charges today.

Last Thursday, Garland filed a lawsuit alleging that in about 1979, Ryan plied him with wine at a restaurant, then orally raped him in his living quarters at the chancery of the archdiocese after introducing him to Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, now deceased.

Three days later, Garland and Shea made an additional charge asserting that Medeiros groped Garland on the second floor of the chancery, moments before Ryan led Garland to his room and molested him.

Cardinal Bernard F. Law denounced the allegation against Medeiros as ''character assassination,'' and said that nothing in files from Medeiros's assignments in Fall River, Brownsville, Texas, or Boston supported the charge. But Shea and Garland stood by their statement, and Shea said he would amend the lawsuit to include the allegation against Medeiros.

In a Globe interview before he filed his lawsuit, Garland described himself as a successful salesman with a record of assaults committed during his years as a teenager and college student.

In 1984, while attending the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Garland was charged as an accessory to murder after he and a Northeastern University student fought with four Boston College students, one of whom died after he was struck with an auto jack stand.

Garland, who was not accused of delivering the fatal blow, pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to five years of community service.

Before college, Garland was a star athlete at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, when Ryan was an informal advisor to student athletes there. Ryan had previosly served as resident chaplain at the school.

Ryan was a vice chancellor at the time of the alleged abuse in 1979. Today he is pastor of St. Joseph Church in Kingston and an area vicar with oversight of 16 parishes in Kingston County.

''This afternoon's events were indeed sad and troubling. We give thanks to God that no one was hurt,'' Boston Archdiocese spokewoman Donna Morrissey said.

Sacha Pfeiffer, Stephen Kurkjian, and Steven Wilmsen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 3/29/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

For complete coverage of the priest abuse scandal, go to