May 28, 2005

Priests listed in records of complaints

Sun Journal

By Bonnie Washuk, Staff Writer
Saturday, May 28,2005

Editor's note: The Sun Journal does not publish the names of people accused of crimes if those accusations do not result in criminal charges. For that reason, no names released by the state's Attorney General's Office have been included in this article. The list of names is available through the Attorney General's Office.

AUGUSTA - In 1952, a 10-year-old altar boy at a Lewiston church was sent to see a priest at the church.

According to documents released Friday by the Maine Attorney General's Office, the priest took advantage of the boy.

He kissed him and had oral sex with him.

Soon it was happening two or three times a week in the church's sacristy, according to the documents. Each time it happened, the priest paid the boy $5, telling him the money was payment for him not talking.

Years later, after the boy had grown, he told authorities of the abuse, saying that during the four years it was happening, there was no one he could tell since it was his parents who had sent him to the priest to talk about sex.

The allegation is one of dozens accusing a total of 21 Maine priests and brothers - now all dead - of sexually abusing children.

The documents are a compilation of statements from the Maine Roman Catholic diocese, letters from victims and reports from prosecutors, lawyers and the Attorney General's Office.

None of the cases was ever proven in court because, by the time authorities learned of them, the statute of limitations prevented prosecution, said Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin. In the early '90s, state lawmakers removed the statute of limitations for new sex abuse cases.

The documents were released Friday based on a Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruling ordering the Attorney General's Office to turn over the records, which included the names of the priests and brothers, and the churches where they served. Nine of them - eight priests and one brother - had been assigned to churches in central and western Maine.

The court also ordered that the names of the victims and their families not be released.

The ruling came after the Portland Press Herald asked the court for the documents, Robbin said.

Posted by kshaw at May 28, 2005 02:57 PM