May 25, 2005

Vilified accuser goes on

Boston Herald

By Marie Szaniszlo
Monday, May 23, 2005 - Updated: 04:43 AM EST

Not every survivor of clergy abuse is willing to criticize the Boston archdiocese, particularly if they rely on it to pay for the years of therapy and medication ``survival'' often entails.

Criticism, after all, can come at a cost.

No case made it more clear than that of Paul Edwards, who accused the archdiocese's top canon lawyer of molesting him as a child, only to become a cautionary tale, many survivors say, of how fierce the backlash can be.

``They'll tell you anything you want to hear,'' Edwards, 37, said bitterly. ``But in the end, nobody pays for what they've done. Nobody.''

After he accused Msgr. Michael Foster of molesting him in the 1980s at Newton's Sacred Heart Church, he said, Foster's supporters launched a campaign to discredit him, portraying him as a pathological liar.

His vilification was so complete, Edwards said, that he lost the child he and his wife had applied to adopt, was ostracized by his neighbors and clients and received threatening phone calls Eventually, he dropped his civil suit and he and his wife left the state.

Earlier this year, in a four-hour meeting with the Rev. John Connolly and Barbara Thorp, who heads the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, Edwards asked that O'Malley clear his name. Two weeks later, Thorp contacted him and said she hoped to have an answer for him by week's end.

``I never heard from them again.''

Posted by kshaw at May 25, 2005 08:15 AM