March 30, 2005

Priest fired from school chaplain job

Boston Globe

By David Abel, Globe Staff | March 30, 2005

A Catholic high school in Lawrence fired its volunteer chaplain yesterday, after it was alleged the priest had sent inappropriate electronic messages to students.

The Reverend Michael C. Randone, 36, also resigned yesterday as pastor of Haverhill's Sacred Hearts Parish, where he had served since July 2003, said officials of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

A spokesman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said the office is investigating the allegations against Randone.

One instant message sent under Randone's screen name included what Lawrence Central Catholic High School officials called offensive content. A family member of the recipient notified the school, triggering the investigation that resulted in Randone's firing last week.

Randone denied sending the message and told school officials someone must have used his account to send the message.

It was allegedly the third time Randone had violated the school's policy on ''appropriate boundaries" between adults and students.

He received a verbal warning in 2002 and a written warning in 2003 for what school officials described as ''off-campus contact with students, unrelated to school business."

Central Catholic's president, Brother Richard Van Houten, said yesterday that in one of the earlier incidents, Randone was seen in a restaurant with a group of young people and that in the other he was seen with a group of young people in a car. There ''was absolutely nothing criminal or sexual," Van Houten said, but ''socializing with kids off campus is something we don't permit."

Posted by kshaw at March 30, 2005 07:50 AM