March 23, 2005

Priest acquitted in late 1980s child rape case

BROCKTON (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

The Associated Press

BROCKTON, Mass. A 76-year-old priest was acquitted Wednesday of allegations he repatedly raped a young parishioner in the late 1980s in a church office.

The Rev. John P. Lyons closed his eyes and bowed his head as the verdict was read in Brockton Superior Court, where jurors began deliberating Tuesday after one day of testimony.

About two dozen parishioners from his church, St. Rose of Lima Church in Rochester, cheered the verdict while the accuser's family wailed, The Patriot Ledger of Quincy reported.

The accuser's mother cried out, "I can't believe you would do this to my son." She and other relatives were ordered out of the courtroom.

"I'm delighted," Lyons said after the verdict, declining to comment further.

The accuser, a former parishioner at St. Rose of Lima, testified that Lyons molested him from 1987 until 1989. Now 26, he was 8 years to 10 years old when the alleged abuse occurred.

Posted by kshaw at March 23, 2005 05:46 PM