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Spotlight Report

Garland retains a new lawyer

Man accusing 2 priests picks Boston attorney

By John Ellement, Globe Staff, 4/2/2002

Garry M. Garland, the man who has accused Monsignor Frederick J. Ryan of molesting him as a minor in a civil lawsuit, has switched attorneys and is now being represented by Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston attorney who has won millions of dollars in settlements from the Archdiocese of Boston stemming from clergy sexual abuse allegations.

Garland has also publicly accused the late Cardinal Humberto Medeiros of molesting him, but Garabedian refused to say yesterday if he would pursue that allegation by adding the deceased church official to the pending lawsuit. Garabedian's decision means currently there is no formal allegation against Medeiros.

''I'll be evaluating the case,'' Garabedian said of Garland's lawsuit. ''I am not quite sure how I am going to handle it, what steps are going to be taken in the future.''

Garland fired his first civil lawyer, Daniel J. Shea of Houston, over the weekend and hired Garabedian on Sunday. Prior to being sued, Ryan was pastor at a Kingston church and an area vicar with oversight of 16 parishes. He has since been placed on administrative leave by Cardinal Bernard F. Law pending an archdiocesan investigation of the allegations against Ryan.

Law has called Garland's accusation against Medeiros ''character assassination.'' Shea had said that he planned to add Medeiros's name to Garland's lawsuit against Ryan, but never did.

Ryan's attorney, Timothy P. O'Neill, yesterday declined comment on the litigation.

Garabedian spoke with reporters outside the Chelsea District Court where Garland pleaded not guilty to charges filed last week after he was arrested at gunpoint by Chelsea Police as Garland allegedly tried to confront Ryan. Garland was first taken to Massachusetts General Hospital but later transferred to McLean Hospital, the psychiatric facility, where he was examined over the weekend and then released.

Garabedian would not answer directly when asked whether he has doubts about Garland's credibility. ''I think my representing him speaks for itself,'' he said.

Also, appearing in court yesterday was Chris Nilan, former professional hockey player and a Garland friend, who apparently has been trying to serve as a liaison between Garland and Ryan. The lives of the three men intersected at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, where Garland and Nilan were hockey players. Ryan was a resident chaplain at the school in the early 1970s and later was an informal adviser to student athletes there.

Nilan declined to speak with reporters yesterday.

At the request of Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Sandra Gosser, Garland was examined for mental competency by the court clinician, psychologist William Hudgins. Hudgins later told Judge Lee Johnson that he saw no evidence of mental illness in Garland, nor signs that he was a danger to himself or others.

Johnson ordered Garland to stay 100 yards away from Ryan's Revere Beach Parkway home and 100 yards from Ryan as a condition of being released on $2,500 cash bail. Garland pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanors, the most serious of which was operating a motor vehicle negligently.

Garland, who has spoken freely to reporters recently, stood silently next to Garabedian after the arraignment. Garabedian said Garland will return to an ''out of state'' treatment center in the next few days. Hudgins said Garland has previously stayed at a treament center in Nevada.

''It has to do with his emotional state,'' Garabedian said. ''He understands he needs help with these emotional problems, and he is going to try to get some help. He is under a lot of stress.''

Garland left the courthouse with his wife, Bridget. He is due back in court May 8.

Meanwhile, Shea said he continues to represent David Carney of Hyde Park, another individual who claims he was abused by Ryan. Shea said yesterday that Carney was abused by Ryan in Rhode Island; the lawyer plans to accompany Carney to Providence to file a police report.

Michael Rezendes of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 4/2/2002.
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