April 04, 2006

Worcester DA Candidate Early represents Worcester priest who is on leave for sexual misconduct with minors.

Worcester Voice

Joseph Early Jr. will appear this morning in Dudley District Court to defend Father Joseph A. Coonan on charges that he brutalized his 77-year-old mother and attacked his sister when she sought help of police.

Mr. Early also represented Father Coonan when he was removed from St. John's parish in Worcester after numerous allegations were made that he was sexually inappropriate with boys in Oxford some years ago.

Father Coonan still has supporters in the parish who are conducting a fundraising event for Father Coonan, who thus far has refused to resign as pastor of the parish although he has been banned from the premises since 2002. Some in the parish, who will not be buying the raffle tickets, are questioning why Father Coonan's name still appears in the church bulletin every week.

This money raising is in addition to the monthly pay check and medical coverage he is eligible to receive from the Worcester diocese, which under Canon Law is required to support him as long as he is a priest. Father Coonan is among those priests on leave that are costing the Catholics of Central Massachusetts more than $300,000 a year.

Posted by kshaw at April 4, 2006 12:15 PM