July 15, 2005

Priest's backers soliciting donations


Friday, July 15, 2005
SPRINGFIELD - Friends of a Springfield diocesan priest removed from ministry over a sexual abuse complaint have created a fund to defray the cleric's legal and living expenses.

An undated letter seeking financial support for the Rev. Michael H. Devlin has been sent to friends, including lay people and religious, according to people who have received the letter.

Devlin was removed from ministry by the diocese last year after an allegation that he abused a child for four years starting 33 years ago was deemed credible by the diocese's Review Board, the panel that investigates accusations of clergy misconduct.

A lawsuit was filed earlier this year by his accuser, Daniel B. Daley, a 45-year-old Air Force veteran.

Barbara A. Joseph of Williamstown, one of nine friends who signed the letter seeking support for the "Michael H. Devlin Irrevocable Trust," said she helped start the fund to support a longtime friend.

"He says he is innocent, and we believe him," said Joseph, who signed the letter with her husband, Dr. Thomas J. Joseph.

Daley, who said he was abused by Devlin when he was brought by his parents to the priest at age 11 or 12 for counseling, said the fund's creation is upsetting.

Posted by kshaw at July 15, 2005 07:11 AM