April 06, 2005

Ex-priest faces 13 charges

Concord Monitor

Monitor staff

April 06. 2005 8:00AM

A former Boston priest now living in Concord was arraigned yesterday on rape and indecent assault and battery charges stemming from his assignments with the Archdiocese of Boston in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Robert M. Burns, 56, has already served three years in prison in New Hampshire for molesting an 11-year-old neighbor in Salem in 1995, after he had been asked to leave the archdiocese. Burns moved to an apartment on North Main Street, across from the State House, after his release from prison in 1999. He is one of 95 registered sex offenders living in Concord.

The new counts - six charges of rape of a child under 16 and seven counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 - stem from Burns's alleged abuse of five boys in Boston between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Prosecutors in Boston learned of the allegations against Burns in 2002, after the archdiocese gave them a list of priests who had been accused of molestation, said a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley.

But the district attorney's office could not begin intensively investigating the case against Burns until last year, after the victims reached the point where they felt able to participate in the investigation and prosecution, said David Procopio, a spokesman for Conley. Burns was indicted last week and arraigned yesterday at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. He was released on $5,000 cash bail.

Posted by kshaw at April 6, 2005 08:31 AM