July 29, 2005

Two More Priests Defrocked


POSTED: 3:31 pm EDT July 29, 2005
UPDATED: 3:33 pm EDT July 29, 2005

BOSTON -- The Vatican has defrocked Eugene O'Sullivan, who became the first Massachusetts priest convicted of sexual abuse more than two decades ago, the Boston Archdiocese announced Friday.

In 1984, O'Sullivan was sentenced to probation after he admitted sodomizing a 13-year-old altar boy. A condition of his sentence was that he not be allowed to work with children.

But O'Sullivan was later assigned to four New Jersey parishes. He was recalled to Boston in 1992 after church officials learned of another allegation against him dating back to his time in Massachusetts.

The Vatican's action to defrock O'Sullivan means he may no longer function as a priest in any capacity, except to offer absolution to the dying. Defrocked priests also are cut off from any financial support from the archdiocese.

O'Sullivan served at a number of parishes in the Boston Archdiocese, including St. Agnes Church in Arlington and St. Ann's in Marshfield.

Documents from O'Sullivan's personnel file, made public in 2002, show that that the archdiocese was alerted as early as the 1960s to allegations against him.

A woman wrote in 1964 to then-Cardinal Richard Cushing that O'Sullivan had picked up her 12-year-old son from their summer cottage and took him to the sacristy "under the pretense of checking the altar boy assignments" for St. Ann's parish. Her son was very upset when he returned home and told his parents the priest had reached into his bathing trunks and "touched him repeatedly in the private area." The woman said her son told her the priest had touched him there on previous occasions.

Posted by kshaw at July 29, 2005 09:45 PM