March 24, 2005

Former St. Rose of Lima priest acquitted


By NANCY COOK, Standard-Times staff writer

ROCHESTER -- A former Rochester priest, placed on administrative leave three years ago after being accused of sexual abuse, was acquitted yesterday of raping a young parishioner in the 1980s.
A jury in Brockton Superior Court found 77-year-old John P. Lyons innocent after one day of testimony and another day of deliberation.
About 30 parishioners from the Rev. Lyons' former parish, St. Rose of Lima Church, attended the trial. They cheered and clapped so heartily after the verdict that the judge asked them to quiet down, parishioner MaryAnn Cutler said.
Meanwhile, the accuser and his mother broke down crying. "I was pretty devastated," the mother said.
As soon as the trial concluded, news spread through Rochester, from Bev Loves Books to the hair salon to the pizza parlor, with mixed reaction on all sides.
For the band of St. Rose of Lima parishioners who trekked to Brockton and still remain in close contact with the Rev. Lyons, the verdict gave them a huge sense of relief. "This was long overdue ... Rev. Lyons has been through so much," Ms. Cutler said.

Posted by kshaw at March 24, 2005 04:16 AM