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Spotlight Report

Alleged abuse victim arrested at church

Confronts Law during Mass

By Scott S. Greenberger, Globe Staff, 3/4/2002

On many Sundays, Steven Lynch holds a sign outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to protest the Boston Archdiocese's handling of pedophile priests.

Yesterday Lynch, who contends he was abused by a priest about 30 years ago, was arrested after he marched down the side aisle of the cathedral during Mass to confront Cardinal Bernard F. Law.

Lynch strode up to the pulpit just as Law was about to begin his homily.

''I'm standing before you, Cardinal, and I'm taking my power back that your church stole from me,'' Lynch said as Law stood silently.

Lynch's diatribe was cut short when about a dozen male worshipers left the pews to confront him.

Two plainclothes Boston police officers took Lynch by the arms and led him out of the church. He did not resist.

tlight Team investigations reveal that the Archdiocese of Boston has known for decades about child molestation charges against dozens of Roman Catholic priests. The officers say plainclothes police have mingled with Sunday worshipers at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for about a year.

Lynch, 42, was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct and disturbance of an assembly of worship, both misdemeanors.

He says the late Rev. Samuel Lombard, who was a teacher and priest in Danvers and Middleton, raped him when he was 9. But Lynch is the only person who has accused Lombard, and the Church has not concluded that the priest did anything wrong.

Lynch was one of a handful of protesters who gathered outside the church.

A Swedish television crew filmed them as they chanted slogans with a bullhorn and waved signs saying, ''Prison for Law'' and ''Full Disclosure - Complete Accountability.''

Lynch was the only protester who entered the church.

At the beginning of the Mass, Law thanked Hispanic parishioners, in English and Spanish, for marching in his support Saturday night.

''I wish to express my gratitude for the support of your prayer, particularly last night,'' Law said.

''This source of prayer for reconciliation and peace within the archdiocese at this time is so precious.''

Scott S. Greenberger can be reached by e-mail

This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 3/4/2002.
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