Church Aide Says She Had Allegations against 100 Priests in 1994

By Denise Lavoie
Foster's Daily Democrat [Boston MA]
Downloaded April 8, 2003

BOSTON (AP) - A former aide to Bishop John McCormack said she repeatedly urged church officials to warn parishioners about priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children, but her pleas were ignored.

In a deposition released publicly on Monday, Sister Catherine Mulkerrin said she received allegations against more than 100 priests in the Boston archdiocese from 1992 to 1994, while she was working as an aide to McCormack, who was then Cardinal Bernard Law's delegate on clergy sexual misconduct. McCormack is now bishop of Manchester, N.H.

Mulkerrin said she told McCormack that the archdiocese should put a notice in parish bulletins to warn parishioners that a priest who worked there during a certain time period had been accused of sexually abusing children. At one point, she described herself as a "broken record" in a memo to McCormack in which she again urged church officials to notify parishes where abusive priests had worked.

"My deepest hope was that more people would feel free to come forward because so many of the people I had meet had waited for years (to come forward)," she said.

Mulkerrin said she also expressed her frustration to McCormack that priests who had been sent for treatment after being accused of sexual abuse were later allowed to return to parish work, without the kind of supervision she had recommended.

"I expressed concern, consternation. What are we thinking of? What are you thinking of?" she said she told McCormack.

When McCormack was pressed about her concerns, "I think the gist of what he told me was that he was trying," Mulkerrin said.

Mulkerrin answered questions over three days this winter in a deposition taken as part of civil lawsuits filed against the church for its handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests.

When asked to respond to Mulkerrin's remarks, Patrick McGee, a spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester, said the Boston archdiocese, as a matter of policy, did not inform parishes when allegations of abuse were received against priests. McGee said McCormack has acknowledged repeatedly during the last year that he made mistakes during his time in Boston.

"He's admitted that he's certainly learned how to do this much better, and how to be much more sensitive to the victims who bring forth the complaints," McGee said.

Mulkerrin also said she felt McCormack, when dealing with sexual abuse complaints, "had more of a feel for priests than victims."

Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December after nearly a year of criticism over how the archdiocese dealt with abuse allegations against priest.

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