NY priest pleads not guilty to sex abuse in Mass.

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The Wall Street Journal

31 August 2012
Associated Press

SALEM, Mass. — A former high-ranking member of a Roman Catholic religious order accused of molesting a boy at a Massachusetts camp decades ago was released Friday after pleading not guilty to five counts of child rape.

The Rev. Richard McCormick, 71, was granted $1,000 bail at his arraignment in Salem Superior Court and allowed to return to the Salesian Brothers of Don Bosco facility in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he lives and where he was arrested Thursday. Prosecutors had asked for $75,000 bail.

At Friday’s hearing, prosecutor Kate MacDougall said McCormick allegedly took the boy from a dormitory and raped him in an office at the camp. She said the boy was so frightened of McCormick that he would hide under his brother’s camp bunk, or in nearby woods.

The alleged assaults took place in Ipswich in 1981 and 1982 when the alleged victim was about 11 and 12 years old, said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for the Essex district attorney.

McCormick was arrested following a yearlong investigation launched when the alleged victim went to authorities, she said.

Mitchell Garabedian, who is the civil representative for the man who made the criminal complaint, said the alleged abuse took place at a camp called Sacred Heart Retreat House, run by the Salesian Brothers.

McCormick went on to become the leader of the order for the eastern U.S., Garabedian said.

The camp no longer exists.

Garabedian has settled nine civil cases with the Salesians involving McCormick, he said, although there is no lawsuit pending in connection with the current criminal case. The alleged victim’s name was not disclosed.

The Rev. Steve Dumais, vice provincial for the Salesians in New Rochelle, attended the arraignment and was appointed by the judge to serve as McCormick’s custodian. Dumais said McCormick is not actively working as a priest and has no contact with children.

Dumais told reporters outside court he was there to support McCormick, but also said the order takes the allegations seriously. “We are doing our very best to support the work of the authorities the best we can,'” he said.

A message was left Friday for McCormick’s lawyer.

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Priest pleads not guilty to child rape in Salem

The Boston Herald (bostonherald.com)

31 August 2012

By O’Ryan Johnson and Matt Stout

   

Photo by Ted Fitzgerald
 Reverend Richard McCormick is arraigned on child rape charges at Salem Superior Court. Ipswich police arrested the Rev. McCormick Thursday afternoon in New Rochelle, N.Y.

SALEM — A former head of a Catholic order facing child rape charges had bail set at $1,000 this morning in Salem District Court.

Father Richard McCormick, arrested yesterday in New Rochelle, N.Y., pleaded not guilty to five counts of a rape of a child, charges stemming from the alleged repeated sexual assaults of a victim, then 11 and 12 years old, during 1981 and 1982 in Ipswich, according to the Essex County district attorney’s office.

McCormick, 68, an active priest with no public duties, will reside at his order in New Rochelle and was banned by Judge Timothy Feeley from any unsupervised contact with minors. He was also told to stay away from the all-boys high school that is 100 yards away from the order.

McCormick has a decades-old history of alleged abuse that includes nine civil cases — including five from Boston dating back to the 1960s — but before now, had never been charged criminally, a lawyer representing the victims told the Herald.

Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston lawyer representing the alleged victim civilly, declined to comment on the current case, citing it as a “pending criminal matter.”

But Garabedian said he’s represented nine other victims who had their cases settled against McCormick, who once served as the provincial, or head, of the Salesians of Don Bosco’s entire Eastern United States order.

“I have no knowledge of a high-ranking provincial ever being criminally prosecuted for sexual abuse,” said Garabedian, who’s represented more than 600 alleged victims of clergy abuse.

A message left with the current provincial of the Salesians in New Rochelle was not immediately returned this morning.

McCormick, according to Garabedian, served as provincial from 1986 to 1991, overseeing thousands of members in the order’s Eastern Province, which is based in New Rochelle. Prior to that, he worked at the Salesians Boys & Girls Club in East Boston and at a summer camp retreat in Ipswich, where he is alleged to have abused five victims dating back to the 1960s, Garabedian said.

Garabedian also represented three men out of New York who said they were abused by McCormick in the 1970s, cases that were settled in 2009. McCormick was also accused of taking a boy from Indiana, where he served in a diocese in Gary, and sexually molesting him on a trip to Rome in the mid-1970s, Garabedian said.

All of the civil cases have been settled in the last decade, he said. Records show McCormick also worked at Don Bosco Technical High School in Boston in the mid-1990s and Dominic Savio Preparatory High School in East Boston during the 1960s, Garabedian said.

In 2002, McCormick resigned from a teaching post at Florida’s St. Petersburg Catholic High School after a female student said he harassed her by greeting her with a kiss and hug in a school hallway.

According to a 2002 report in the Tampa Bay Times, students called McCormick “Father Mac” and said he was known to give students a kiss on the cheek.

“One of the things he always did say was he always was an affectionate man,” one student told the paper. “He said that if you feel offended by it, tell me to stop. He told us that numerous times.”

A pretrial conference date was set for Oct. 23 in Salem District Court. McCormick was ordered to stay within the confines of New York or Massachusetts, except when he travels for trial dates.

1 Response to NY priest pleads not guilty to sex abuse in Mass.

  1. Sylvia says:

    It’s good to see that he is now facing criminal charges.  Whoever the complainant is, good for you!

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