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Spotlight Report

Church sold beach house for $2.55m

By Robert Carroll, Globe Correspondent, 10/10/2003

BOURNE -- Within hours of reaching a tentative $85 million settlement with victims of the clergy sex abuse scandal, the Boston Archdiocese sold a Cape Cod waterfront residence once frequented by Cardinal Bernard Law for $2.55 million.

Proceeds from the sale to a blind trust will not be used in the settlement, but instead will go into a trust for retired Boston clergy, church officials said.

Both the settlement by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston with the 552 alleged victims and the sale of the Pocasset residence took place on Sept. 9.

''That both happened on the same day was just a coincidence,'' the Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said yesterday. ''The money [from the sale] will go to the Boston Clergy Retirement/Disability Trust.''

The trust purchased the home for $1.35 million in 1999 from Regina Cleri Inc., the archdiocese's assisted living home for retired priests. ''The home was used as a summer vacation residence for retired priests, as well as Cardinal Law on his time off,'' said Coyne.

Law resigned as archbishop in December following criticism of his handling of the clergy abuse scandal. He was succeeded by the Rev. Sean P. O'Malley. As trustee of Boston Clergy Retirement/Disability Trust, Archbishop O'Malley signed off on the sale.

The 10-room Colonial on nearly 2.5 acres of beachfront property overlooking Buzzards Bay was sold to the 450 Wings Neck Road Nominee Trust, according to documents filed with the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds.

The sole trustee was listed as Robbie S. Lacritz of Weston. Lacritz yesterday said she and her husband, Commonwealth Financial Network CEO Joseph Deitch, plan to use the property as a private residence.

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