February 12, 2005

Defrocked priest lives in N.H.


February 12, 2005

BARNSTEAD, N.H. -- One of the four Massachusetts priests defrocked this week for sexual abuse allegations lives in New Hampshire, where he retired after admitting fondling boys.

Bernard Lane, 70, was accused of abusing boys when he ran a Massachusetts home for troubled boys in the 1970s. Then-Cardinal Bernard Law reassigned him. Years later, New Hampshire Bishop John McCormack chose to drop the allegations when working for Law.

After McCormack's decision, several men reported they had been abused by Lane. In all, at least 17 men accused Lane of abusing them.

Lane has lived in Barnstead since retiring in 1999, but he remained a priest, even after admitting he fondled boys. He said the fondling was therapy.

"It was not out of bounds to hold a youth even while naked who came needing some reassurance, stroking ... body-to-body warmth or contact," Lane wrote to church officials in 1999.

Lane's nephew, and lawyer, Gerard Lane, told the Concord Monitor his uncle was devastated when he learned the Vatican had defrocked him. Defrocked priests cannot function as priests and they cannot collect support, including retirement pay or health insurance.

Posted by kshaw at February 12, 2005 02:18 PM