January 09, 2005

Priest removed from ministry, new lawsuits filed before legal deadline


By Father Bill Pomerleau
Observer staff

SPRINGFIELD – As a legal deadline for effectively filing lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by priests approached this week, a Boston attorney filed lawsuits alleging that three priests, a woman religious and a Boy Scout leader had abused five men decades ago.

A Greenfield attorney also filed six lawsuits alleging that five diocesan priests had abused minors.

Meanwhile, the Diocese of Springfield announced the removal from ministry of a priest named in one of the lawsuits.

Father Michael Devlin, 62, has been placed under the constraints of the Dallas Norms, the diocese announced Dec. 29, alluding to the requirement in U.S. church law that any priest credibly judged to have abused a minor cannot function as a priest.

In October the diocesan review board began its investigation of an allegation that Father Devlin, until then chaplain at Holyoke’s Providence Place, had abused a minor while he was a parochial vicar at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in West Springfield.

Posted by kshaw at January 9, 2005 08:32 AM