Press Conference April 12, 2012 - Transcripts
The names of a dozen priests named in settlements reached with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston were released in a press conference held on April 12, 2012. Watch the videos or review the transcripts below.
GARABEDIAN: Good morning, I am attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston Massachusetts. To my right is victim Robert Perron, who was abused by Rickard O’Donovan, an Archdiocese of Boston priest. To my left is Ann Barrett Doyle and Susie Norman, both of BishopAccountability.org. They do great work in tracking in tracking the histories of priests. We are here this morning because I released the names of 12 pedophile priests new to my list. Six of those priests are religious brothers, actually five priests and one religious brother, serving in the Archdiocese of Boston at the time of the abuse. That now brings the number of priests who were serving within the Archdiocese of Boston, on my list, to 105, spanning decades. The pool of sexual abuse continues to overflow from the Archdiocese of Boston and around the world, damaging victims, their families, parishioners, friends, and the general public.
I found it necessary to release this list so that victims can heal, other victims can become empowered, and children can be kept safe. The Archdiocese, for its own reasons, refuses to release the full list, and that is very painful to many victims and unsafe to children and the general public. The victims who were abused on my latest list were abused between 1951 and 1991, about 40 years. They ranged in age from 37 to 67 years old when they reported the abuse, and when they were abused, they were anywhere from nine to seventeen years old.
One victim, who was sexually molested by Father James H. Lane, the former Boston police chaplain. The Archdiocese of Boston, through its investigators and attorneys, interviewed my client and his three brothers, and there was overwhelming corroborating evidence and evidence that my client was sexually abused by Father Lane, even though father Lane was a close family friend. My client had been molested at least ten times from ages ten to eleven and then one more time at Father Lane’s home in Marshfield, at age fifteen. Father Lane, as I said, was a close family friend; he actually married my client and baptized two of his children. And the question is, “Why did my client come forward?” My client came forward, because in 2010, he wanted to make peace. And he wanted to make peace so that he could have peace with his religion. He had suffered a heart attack, and had triple bypass surgery. He decided that the only way to make peace was to come forward about Father Lane. He had reported the abuse as early as 36 years ago, again 30 years ago, another brother found out at about 15 years ago. He had told another brother five years ago. It was not a secret. Many family members knew. It was very painful for him to come forward.
To my right is Robert Perron. He was molested from ages nine to eleven, approximately twenty times, if not more, by Father Rickard O’Donovan, at St. Coleman’s church, in Brockton, in the rectory. Father O’Donovan befriended my client because he was bagging groceries in a store, near the church, in which his mother worked. He befriended his mother and Robert, and Robert will tell you his story, about the tragedy, which he has had to live with. Over twenty times, he was sexually molested by Rickard O’Donovan.
In each and every one of these cases, that I have posted, the victims have been found credible, and the settlements have been either five or six figures. The determination was not inconclusive. It was that my clients were found credible; there was corroborative evidence and direct evidence. The victims should be extremely proud of coming forward and telling the truth, taking the weight off their shoulders, and healing. For they are not only speaking for themselves, but they are speaking for other victims.
As to the other cases, not involving the priests serving in Boston, those priests or brothers were associated with Ohio, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, whether they be dioceses, or orders, or just members of religious organizations. Clergy sexual abuse is international in scope, and is ongoing and continuous. Right now I represent 21 victims who were sexually molested in Haiti in the United States District Court in Connecticut. I filed twenty lawsuits. The perpetrator, Douglas Perlitz, was working in a Jesuit-run institution, which was also overseen by Fairfield University in Malta (the Knights of Malta). Most of those children were molested after 2002, when the National Catholic Conference of Bishops instituted their policies for the safety of children. Douglas Perlitz received a 19 year and 7 month jail sentence for sexually molesting children. I will have Robert Perron address you now. Thank you.
Any questions first?
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Are there only two new names out of the twelve, is that right?
GARABEDIAN: No, out of the twelve, there were actually seven new names that have never been listed before. I can give you the names if you want them. The names are Brother Peter-Claver, Father James H. Lane, Father James Nickel, Father Rickard O’Donovan, Father Leonard Walsh, Brother Vincent Jerome, Father Augustus Scott.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: And out of those seven, two served in Boston?
GARABEDIAN: Well, actually, there are five in Boston, who were serving in the Archdiocese of Boston. Two were Archdiocesan priests: Father Lane and Father O’Donovan. But when a religious person or a priest works in an archdiocese such as Boston, the archdiocese is supposed to be supervising these priests. I have represented hundreds of victims against 105 priests or religious brothers or members of religious organizations who were working within the Archdiocese of Boston. Any other questions?
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do you know where Brother Jerome worked?
GARABEDIAN: Yes, hold on one second. Yes, Brother Jerome, he was at Roselle Catholic High School in Roselle, New Jersey.
AUDIENCE QUESTION : Do you know how many of these new names, of these guys are deceased?
GARABEDIAN: Yes, one minute please.
DOYLE: If you look at the assignment histories that Susan just passed out, at the end, they note death dates for the ones we know are dead.
GARABEDIAN: Eight are deceased. Excuse me, seven are deceased. Of the twelve. One is in Wisconsin, Father Glen Davidowich. Brother Vincent Jerome is in Florida. We do not know where Brother Robert Burgess is. We do not know where Father Henry Rancourt is. And Father Augustus Scott is in North Carolina. Who is watching them? Nobody knows. That is why the archdiocese and the diocese and the orders around the country have an obligation, to list these priests, so that the public is made aware and children are kept safe.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Talk a little more about Father Lane. (Someone) said he was a whistleblower and some people don’t believe in it.
GARABEDIAN: Father Paul Shanley was a whistleblower, too. So, given the fact that he was a whistleblower doesn’t mean that he sexually molested children. Just as in Father Paul Shanley’s case. Again, the Archdiocese interviewed my client, reviewed all the records I presented to them, interviewed the three brothers of my client, and one brother was even fifteen years younger than my client, and they came to the conclusion that he was credible. He came forward because he wanted to make peace with his Lord, as he stated.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: How old is your client, now?
GARABEDIAN: 56 years old. AUDIENCE QUESTION: Can you say what community he lives in?
GARABEDIAN: He lives in southern New Hampshire.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: In a Globe article today, it says that someone at a church where he worked described him as in tears, when he was telling him about Father Geoghan. What is your reaction to that? Coming to a settlement, for abusing another child?
GARABEDIAN: All I can say is that the evidence we presented was overwhelming. So I don’t know what kind of tears they were. I mean, I just don’t know. We presented individuals who gave stories that were consistent, who gave facts that were consistent. My client has been holding this in since a child. When he was eighteen, he told his best friend. Thirty years ago, he told his oldest brother. His oldest brother told another brother. Five years ago he told another brother. His sister knew. Father Lane even presided at my client’s mother’s funeral. It was just very difficult. There was an argument after the funeral between brothers, not involving my client, brothers of the family, because of Father Lane. Father Lane was very close to the family. He gained access to my client through the parents.
AUDIENCE QUESTION : So the Archdiocese calls this inconclusive, as Terry Donilon indicated?
GARABEDIAN: Why did they pay a settlement? Why did they pay a five figure settlement? That is just spin control. If it was inconclusive, they would not have paid anything. That is just damage control on the part of the Archdiocese. Why hasn’t the a listed names of perpetrators? Up until recently, and why hasn’t that list been all-inclusive? You are dealing with an entity that got caught, allowing children to be sexually abused for decades. You have purportedly the most moral institution in the world acting the most immorally. We are not dealing with an entity that showed up one day and said, “We have a problem within our ranks”.
I have been litigating for more than 15 years with the Archdiocese of Boson, proving time and time again that they have priests who are sexual predators, and they have priests who enabled sexual predators. How can you trust what they say? Why aren’t they here today? Why aren’t they apologizing? Why are not they holding more healing masses? Why aren’t they helping victims by having victims meet with them to discuss how to prevent pedophilia in the future? There is no end in sight to this pedophilia problem in the Archdiocese of Boston. People are pouring into my office. Before I came here this morning, unrelated to this article, a gentleman called me in tears. He had been sexually molested by Father Talbot. He wanted to meet with me today. Unrelated to the article. He had not heard anything…
I’ve discussed 12 priests. I’ve settled dozens upon dozens of cases with the Archdiocese and other dioceses in the past year that don’t involve these 12 priests but involve numerous other pedophile priests, or religious brothers. That is the broad picture. People keep coming forward. A man 87years old came to my office. He wanted to report having been sexually abused by a priest when he was six. He had been carrying it around for 81 years. We don’t hear of older cases because people have passed away. The victims have passed away. There is no end to this. It is just beginning. It has reared its ugly head and it is just beginning. Where is the Archdiocese today? They should be here. They should be addressing these questions. We are doing their work for them, by exposing these priests, so that children can be made safer and victims can heal.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is there not an ability to bring criminal charges against any of these, or did your clients not want to go that route?
GARABEDIAN: First of all, if the priest is dead, you cannot bring criminal charges. Secondly, because of the age of the cases, and the fact that the perpetrators had not left the state for a sufficient amount of time, the statute of limitations prevented criminal charges from being brought. Which is why we need amendments to the statute of limitations, both criminal and civil, so that claims can be filed. And the Archdiocese should not have a problem with that, because if they claim that the evidence is inconclusive, then we can have a trial and show the evidence to the jury, and let the jury decide whether it is inconclusive or not. But the Archdiocese doesn’t want that. They oppose amending the statute of limitations. Again, you are dealing with an entity that got caught, allowing thousands of children to be sexually molested by hundreds if not thousands of priests, and I’m talking about the Archdiocese of Boston. Hundreds of priests, and hundreds of supervising priests enabling the sexual abuse to occur. For as long as you can imagine. When a man comes to you and he says that he was molested 86 years ago, you know that it has gone on for centuries. Any other questions?
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Just a point of clarification. This is the same client who, ou said, presided at his mother’s funeral, and married him, and baptized the two children?
GARABEDIAN: Yes. And that’s not unusual in these cases. I’ve had that happen quite a bit. There is an attachment, a spiritual attachment, where the victim feels guilty. Like don’t allow Father Lane or this priest to baptize my children, we are all going to burn in hell. Or if I don’t let Father Lane preside at my mother’s funeral, somebody will suspect that I was abused, and they might find out, and I don’t want them to find out. The reasons are endless. Father Lane molested this child when he was 10 and then again when he was 15. It wasn’t one incident, it was more than 10 incidents.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: He came to you in 2010?
GARABEDIAN: Yes, he came to me last year. Early last year. Anything else?
ROBERT PERRON: My name is Robert Perron. And from 1963 to 1965 in St. Coleman’s rectory, next to the church, on Wendell Avenue in Brockton, Massachusetts, I was molested by Father Richard O’Donovan, or he goes by Rickard O’Donovan. He came into my mother’s store, which was the Brockton Public Market. I would go there after school (my mother worked until 5:00). I would bundle groceries for her (the laws were very lax back then). I would get change to bring the bundles out to the cars. He would come through my mother’s register. My mother had just remarried when I was nine years old, to a man who was Catholic. His mother was French Canadian Catholic, and very religious. Father Rickard O’Donovan knew this. He went to my mother and said, your son has not had his confirmation yet. I would like to give him private lessons. He is nine years old. He needs to have confirmation. At that time I was taking CCD classes after school because I was in a regular elementary school / junior high at that time, and I was taking CCD classes at St. Coleman’s, and going to St. Coleman’s church, myself. These supposed confirmation classes were held in the rectory, for two years. I never received anything about confirmation. What I did receive was sexual abuse, and I was molested over twenty times by Father Rickard O’Donovan, from 1963 to 1965.
They moved him in 1965. They must have found out what was going on. He was moved from 1966 to 1974 at the Most Precious Blood in Hyde Park. Then he was moved again, in 1975 to 1986, to the Sacred Heart in Weymouth. Then, he was moved again, in 1987 to 2000 in St. Dougherty’s in Wilmington, Mass. He died in 2002. The reason I’m here today is because I want to make sure that you have put this in print, exactly what I just told you. Not that his name isn’t out there now, but this is in print. I want people to come forward that were molested. I want them to heal. I want them to get what I got out of this. I got closure. I was able to heal. I was able to deal with it after all these years, of 48 years of torment and sexual abuse that I had 48 years ago that tormented me all my life and changed my life completely. I was able to heal. If you were molested by this priest in any of these parishes that I have stated, please come forward. Get closure and be healed. Call Mitchell Garabedian and get closure. If you need to talk to me, I will be available also to speak to you. Thank you very much.
ANNE BARRETT DOYLE: Hi, everyone. My name is Anne Barrett Doyle. I’m a co-director of BishopAccountability.org. We are an archive that collects documents and data pertaining to the sex abuse crisis in the church. We are the largest such resource in the world, but we are based here in the Boston Archdiocese, and we were started by Boston parents.
I’m going to start with a quote from Cardinal O’Malley. He recently said that his “highest priority has been to provide outreach and care for all the survivors of clergy abuse, and to do everything possible to make sure the abuse doesn’t happen again.” These are nice words, but nice words don’t protect children, and they don’t heal victims. Cardinal O’Malley should be giving this press conference today. He found the victims’ claims credible enough to pay substantial settlements. So why hasn’t he informed the public of these allegations? And why hasn’t he added the names of these clerics to his published lists of accused priests?
The victims have suffered enough. It shouldn’t be their added burden, to disclose the names of accused child molesters. One thing that still stuns us, as Mitchell Garabedian alluded to, is the unending pain of victims of child sexual abuse. The agony is particularly debilitating in people who were abused by clergy whose perpetrators have not been acknowledged by the church. In August, the cardinal finally published a list of accused clerics, but he admitted that he had withheld the names of 91 Archdiocesan clerics simply because their names hadn’t already been made public. He was deciding to keep them private. And he even went on to say that the Archdiocese had found some of the claims “credible and compelling”. It is just sad and wrong that in 2012, Sean O’Malley is still protecting the reputations of accused priests rather than choosing to heal victims and protect the children of this Archdiocese. He has mastered the trick of partial and false transparency, and the victims and the public continue to pay the price. He can begin today to make full disclosures. We hope that he will add the clerics who have been newly identified to his public list. And that from now every time the Archdiocese settles with the victim, that he will issue a statement naming the cleric and the settlement and giving the details of the allegation and also all the parishes where that cleric worked, so that as Robert said, the victims in those parishes can feel validated and come forward and finally get closure. Thanks.And if you have any questions, by the way, on our website, BishopAccountability.org, in the upper right hand corner, it says what’s new and noteworthy. We link to this list that we passed out to you today. We link to all those assignment records that my colleague Susie Nomen did. So if you have any questions about the assignment histories, we might be able to help you if Mitchell cannot.
ROBERT PERRON: The Archdiocese told me, in my case, that they didn’t want his name released, Rickard O’Donovan, by no means, because he is deceased, and they were afraid that it would upset his family. I would like you to take a good look at this picture over here. That’s me, at 9 years old, as a child. As a child, that was molested. Don’t you think I’m upset over this? I was the one that was molested. Do I care about his family? Not really. Do I care about him? No. I wish he was alive today so that I could see him, face to face. Unfortunately I can’t. Thank you very much.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Robert, can I just ask you, how do you feel about the church basically not admitting with him? I mean, they did come to a settlement, but not an admission of guilt.
PERRON: It’s more than outrageous. It’s ludicrous. I mean, how can they not come forward? Look at all the victims. Is everybody lying? Come on. It’s just ridiculous. I don’t understand it. Nobody would understand it. I mean, I’m coming forward telling you about these parishes that he was in, because I want people to know if they were in this parish and they were molested, to come forward. They have a right to come forward. For themselves. Did I answer your question?
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Could you tell me, when you came forward and what made you decide to come forward?
PERRON: I came forward two years ago, and the reason I came forward later (in life) was because I, um, had dealt with a lot of demons in my life. A lot of things happened to me, as an adult, because of this, and I won’t go into it. I corrected those situations and became a better person. I was able to deal with myself on a level where I could come forward, and face this. And get closure. The only way you’re going to get closure and feel at peace with yourself, is to come forward. Talk about it. Don’t hold this in. The more you hold it in, the worse you’re going to be. It’s going to eat you alive. That’s why I’m pleading to you, to put this information out. It’s important that people know what rectories and churches he was in, in his later years, up to the year 2000. It’s very important to me. It’s very important to the victims. Because I know there are more victims out there. Thank you.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: How do you spell your last name?
PERRON: P E RR O N. Robert Perron.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: How old are you, sir?
PERRON: 57 years old. This happened 48 years ago.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Could you say where you’re from?
PERRON: Originally, I’m from Brockton, Massachusetts. I lived actually 3 streets away from the rectory, on Henry Street.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Did you ever consider telling a parent, or anyone, at that time?
PERRON: When you’re involved with a priest that’s a pedophile, he coerces you into telling you that you’re not loved by your parents. My mother was divorced. She just got remarried. She was trying to have children. I was a latchkey kid. I grew up very fast. I was pulled into this, and told.
AUDIENCE: Your mother was a Catholic?
PERRON: My mother wasn’t Catholic. She married a Catholic. She was Protestant. OK, so I had really no religion before she remarried. I was pulled into this by him, coerced by him, and he told me that he loved me, not to tell anybody, that I wasn’t loved at home, nobody loved me. I was a very lonely child. I was pushed aside. Not intentionally, it just happened that way. Under the circumstances, I don’t blame anybody for that. Of course not. But, the circumstances were right. The priest was there. He knew it, and he took advantage of it. I mean, the audacity of a priest coming into the store where your mother worked, and trying to, basically, take your kid away, to molest him. That was his plan? He had the intention, he had the ability, and he had the opportunity. And he did it. How many other ones out there that he did it to, I don’t know. Any other questions?
AUDIENCE: It was such a different time, to, I mean, telling somebody that a priest molested you, people didn’t believe you back then, right?
PERRON: Well, my mother, she just remarried, to a French-Canadian, his mother was from Canada. A very religious woman. Deilia Perron, bless her soul. She took me in as her grandchild, never asked any questions. Lovely woman. Never asked any questions. I was adopted by my father. I have his name, my stepfather’s name. I’m adopted.
GARABEDIAN: You know, you say it’s a different time, but it wasn’t a different time for priests and the supervisors of priests back then.
AUDIENCE: No, but I mean, the ability for a victim, I think, to come forward and say…
GARABEDIAN: Oh, it’s difficult every day, at any time, for any victim. It’s very difficult because it’s a deep, dark, ugly secret where the victim feels unnecessary guilt, shame and embarrassment. It’s up to the adult. It’s up to the supervisor of the adult, to do something to prevent this from happening. It’s all about prevention. It wasn’t a different time in the 1960s and the 1970s. Sexual abuse was not, it was frowned upon back then, and it should have been. But where were the priests? Where were these people who claimed to have been holier-than-thou? Where were their supervisors? Where was Cardinal Law? The evidence in the Geoghan cases shows that Cardinal Law knew that Father John J. Geoghan was a sexual abuser, yet he transferred him to another parish, without warning parishioners. Why didn’t he err on the side of caution? He knew that Father John J. Geoghan was a sexual pedophile, yet he transferred him to St. Julia's in Weston. He knew it, and that’s the evidence that I have in my offices, and it is in writing, and I believe that it’s on BishopAccountability.org, too.
My list now totals 129 priests, religious order priests, Archdiocesan priests, members of religious organizations that have credibly been found to have sexually molested children. I’m one person, one lawyer. 129 pedophiles associated with the Catholic Church. More than 1000 victims are represented by me, have been represented by me.
Anne, do you have anything else to say?
DOYLE: No, I think that about covers it. I will say, interestingly enough, yesterday the United States Congress on Catholic Bishops came out with an updated report on how many priests have been accused in the last year. The net newly identified is about 160 or so, in 2011. It is remarkable that that many priests. There are now over 6000 accused priests acknowledged by the Catholic Church. They claim that they have heard reports, plausible or credible, against more than 6000 accused priests. So it’s sad, but it’s not surprising, that an attorney is still getting fresh reports.
GARABEDIAN: People are pouring in. It’s not like I get a call every couple of weeks. Constant. Constantly. And I want them to call me. I want them to try to heal. But it’s simply amazing. Simply amazing. Thank you for coming, too.
In The Media
May 10, 2016
January 13, 2016"Deerfield Academy settles case alleging 1980s abuse for $500,000," MassLive.com, January 12, 2016
November 03, 2015“Stanley Tucci (Mitchell Garabedian) tells Mark Ruffalo (Michael Rezendes) how the Catholic Church owns Boston in exclusive Spotlight clip,” Entertainment Weekly, October 27, 2015
October 03, 2015"Ex-Priest Jailed in Abuse Scandal Has Been Set Free," (Father Paquin) Boston Globe, October 2, 2015
June 20, 2015"Survivors Skeptical of Vatican Tribunal," Boston Herald, June 11, 2015
June 20, 2015"Letter could Open Door To More Church Sex Abuse Lawsuits,"(Father Vallely) Associated Press via ABC News, April 7, 2015
June 20, 2015"Lawsuits Allege Sexual Abuse Decades Ago by Harwich Priest," (Father Nickel) Cape Cod Times, January 22, 2015
June 20, 2015"Attorneys: Settlements reached with 88 former Bishop McCort students in Baker abuse case" The Tribune-Democrat, October 21, 2014
June 20, 2015"$500k to Each Boy in Haiti Sex Case," ctpost.com, July 1, 2013
June 20, 2015"Sandusky headed to prison, but scandal persists" AP, Boston Globe, October 10, 2012
History of Obtaining Results for Victims and Survivors
In 2002, Mitchell Garabedian obtained a $10,000,000 settlement for 86 Father Geoghan victims or survivors. In 2003, Mitchell Garabedian representing 120 victims and survivors of over 40 different priests, along with lawyers representing other victims and survivors of abuse, obtained an $85,000,000 settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston. In 2013, Mitchell Garabedian as lead counsel obtained a $12,000,000 settlement for 24 Haitian victims of Douglas Perlitz. The Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian continue to work to obtain substantial settlements for victims and survivors.
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The Story of Mitchell Garabedian's Fight for Compensation for Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Mitchell Garabedian is an attorney specializing in sexual abuse cases. He has become an internationally recognized advocate on the topic. Attorney Garabedian became widely known for his representation of victims or survivors of Roman Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse in the 1990's and 2000's.
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