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State Police Chaplain Removed After Admitting Sex Abuse


March 22, 2002
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State Police Chaplain Removed After Admitting Sex Abuse

The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) - The sexual abuse scandal facing the Roman Catholic church in Boston reached into the chancery Thursday when a man sued the former vice chancellor for an incident that occurred two decades ago, according to a broadcast report.

In a suit filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the alleged victim accuses Monsignor Frederick J. Ryan of sexually abusing him in the early 1980s when he was a freshman and sophomore at Catholic Memorial High School, according to WHDH-TV Channel 7. Ryan was also the school chaplain at the time.

The accusation follows the removal of a Catholic priest and state police chaplain after he admitted molesting an altar boy more than two decades ago.

Ryan is now pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in Kingston, and head of the Plymouth Vicariate, which includes 16 parishes.

A call to the parish rectory Thursday was not immediately returned.

The archdiocese, which had not yet seen the lawsuit, had been unable to reach Ryan or the alleged victim regarding the accusation as of Thursday evening, spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said.

Garry Garland contends that in the early 1980s Ryan took nude photographs of him and performed oral sex on him, according to the station.

Garland said in the suit that Ryan blackmailed him into staying silent by claiming that former Cardinal Humberto Medieros approved of the photographs.

Ryan was recently in a Las Vegas treatment center for depression and alcoholism, the station reported. The archdiocese could not confirm the report, Morrissey said.

A message left with Garland's lawyer was not immediately returned.

Ryan becomes the highest-ranking archdiocese official to be accused of sexual abuse. The scandal, which has spread to other dioceses across the country, broke after documents were released showing Rev. John Geoghan had been moved from parish to parish following accusations of sexual abuse.

Geoghan has been accused of abusing more than 130 children, and is serving a nine- to-10 year prison sentence for abuse.

On Wednesday, the Rev. Gerard F. Walsh was removed from his Worcester Diocese parish and his duties as state police chaplain after admitting he molested an altar boy more than two decades ago. He acknowledged in a letter that he sexually abused a youth when he was assigned to a Leominster church.

Walsh has been state police chaplain, a voluntary position, since the mid-1980s. He officiated at the second inauguration of William Weld as governor in 1995.

Walsh's accuser, Thomas E. Bedard, of Leominster, told the Boston Herald the abuse began in the late 1970s while Bedard was an altar boy at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Leominster.

Bedard said he decided to confront Walsh last month after hearing accounts of problem priests in the Boston and Worcester dioceses

Last week, during a 45-minute conversation, Walsh first denied, then admitted to the abuse, Bedard said.

Bedard said he demanded and received a letter of apology from Walsh. Walsh gave a copy of the letter to state police investigators in Worcester on Monday. The same day, Walsh was dismissed from his police chaplaincy.

The Worcester Diocese Bishop Daniel P. Reilly issued a statement late Wednesday saying Walsh had been placed on leave from his post at St. Roch's Parish in Oxford.

"Due to an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor in the late 1970s, I have placed Fr. Gerard P. Walsh on administrative leave from his duties as pastor," the statement said.

Bedard, now a 37-year-old engineer and father of four, told the Herald Walsh showed him sexually graphic material, asked him to open his shirt and pants, and grabbed his genitals on several occasions.

"I want this to be a wakeup call to the Diocese of Worcester," Bedard told the Herald. "In my view, they have not been taking this scandal seriously enough."




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