May 04, 2006

Former pastor to be defrocked

Billerica Minuteman

By Margaret Smith/ Staff Writer
Thursday, May 4, 2006

The Archdiocese of Boston plans to remove a former St. Mary's Catholic Church pastor from the priesthood, after he pleaded guilty last week to child molestation charges in Charleston, S.C.

In a press release, the archdiocese said it would resume a so-called canonical process to strip ministry status from Rev. James Nyhan, 60, who served as St. Mary's pastor for about four years and who was suspended from ministry in 2002 in the midst of abuse allegations. He resigned as pastor of St. Mary's in 2004.

Under provisions of canonical law implemented in 2002, any priest who admits or who is found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor must be removed permanently from the priesthood, archdiocese officials explained in a press release.

No criminal charges are currently pending against Nyhan regarding molestation allegations in Massachusetts, according to Emily LaGrassa, spokesman for Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley.

At. St. Mary's, parishioners were sad about the ruling, but determined to move forward and help foster a climate of open communication, according to Jack Clancey, a member of the parish council and a long-time parishioner.

Posted by kshaw at May 4, 2006 08:15 PM