Archdiocese Nun Says Concerns Were Ignored

By Robin Washington
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
April 8, 2003

A Boston Archdiocese nun who served as a victims' contact said she was a "broken record" in urging something be done about molester priests but that church officials ignored her calls, according to a deposition released yesterday.

Sister Catherine Mulkerrin assisted Bishop John McCormack, then Bernard Cardinal Law's secretary for clergy personnel, from 1992 to 1994 and was the intake person for scores of alleged victims, all of whom she said she found believable. "I don't believe I (met) with (anyone) whose allegation was not credible," she said in the deposition taken in December and January, released in the Rev. Paul R. Shanley civil case.

Mulkerrin said she appealed to church leaders to place notices in the church bulletins of parishes where accused priests had served, but her suggestion was repeatedly ignored.

"You were feeling like a broken record on this issue, is that correct?" plaintiffs' attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. asked her.

"Yes, that's correct," she responded.

Later in the session, she said she and church leaders had by 1994 become aware of 100 alleged molesters and at least 200 victims.

Mulkerrin said she considered disclosing one case to police, but the alleged victim was "adamant" it not be reported.

She also said she consulted the archdiocese's legal counsel, Wilson Rogers Jr., about alerting authorities but did not give details of that conversation, protected by attorney-client privilege.

Another plaintiffs' lawyer, Courtney Pillsbury, asked Mulkerrin about the Rev. Edward Kelley, about whom the nun had received a complaint in 1993.

Though Kelley was removed from ministry after Mulkerrin's conversation with the alleged victim, she said she had been unaware of another complaint made to McCormack the previous year.

Though the accuser's name has been redacted in the deposition, the claim is consistent with one made to the Herald a year ago by Steve Lewis of Lynn, who said he told McCormack in 1992 Kelley had abused him in the 1970s.

"Would it have been helpful to you in 1993 if you had known that Father Kelley had an allegation against him?" Pillsbury asked. "It would have been helpful," she answered.

Mulkerrin described herself as "perpetually sad" during her time in the office - and to the present day.

"I'm still sad about it," she said.

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