April 11, 2006

Reilly role in abuse crisis is debated

Boston Globe

By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff | April 11, 2006

Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly is highlighting his investigation of the clergy sex abuse scandal in his campaign for governor, and last week all but took credit for forcing Cardinal Bernard F. Law to resign in late 2002.

The remarks, at a Democratic candidates' forum in Newburyport on Saturday, are prompting a debate among some longtime observers of the scandal, one of whom suggests that Reilly overstated his role. Others said they saw another sign that politicians in the Bay State are willing to take on the church, a step that once would have been political suicide in heavily Catholic Massachusetts.

At the forum, Reilly touted his work on several issues and cited the clergy sexual abuse investigation as an example of his ''guts" and ''leadership." He later said his remarks should not be interpreted as an attempt to take sole credit for Law's exit.

''There weren't many other people in politics that were willing to stand up to the Archdiocese of Boston in the sexual abuse of children," Reilly said at the forum. ''You're looking at someone who did, and changed things forever. It changed things forever. With the guts to send state troopers into that chancery. And two days later, [Law] was in Rome, and he never came back. He never came back. That's what a difference leadership can make."

Posted by kshaw at April 11, 2006 07:20 AM